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Author Topic: I'm new and here's my story.  (Read 3487 times)

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Offline funkaholic

  • member
  • Posts: 2
I'm new and here's my story.
« on: June 15, 2006, 04:02:48 AM »
Let me start by saying I just turned 21 a few days ago, I'm also a gay male.

My story begins in January of this year when I met up with a guy online. We had been talking for a few days and we decided to play around. We started the night by drinking and then began fooling around. At first it was just kissing and then oral, but then he started asking if I wanted to have sex. I didn't want to, but after he kept prodding, I finally relented. I asked him if he had a condom and he said that there was no need for it, as he had just been tested about a month prior to our meeting. Of course normally (I had hooked up in the past) I would have said no, but I think being under the influence hampered my judgment and we had sex.

We talked after and I asked him over and over again if he was HIV- (I really was freaked out about it) and he assured me that he was. I had been tested in the summer of '05 (AIDS Awareness Day or whatever it was called offered free testing) and had not had anal with anyone up until we hooked up. I don't know why, but I believed him and went about my life.

Well this week I realized that it had been a while since I got tested and really thought I had to get in. I wasn't worried because I had NOT been with another guy since that meeting (which was about 6 months ago. I head down to the clinic, get tested and they call me in. I really didn't expect anything, but they told me I was HIV+. I wanted to die right there, I was completely surprised by what the guy had said. It felt like someone had punched me in the gut, I literally got sick and had to go into the bathroom. That was a few days ago (Monday) and I've not told anyone. And I've not told anyone because I'm not out of the closet yet and I don't know what to do. Instead of coming clean with my sexuality, now I need to come clean with my diagnosis and I'm scared beyond belief. I don't know what to do, part of me wants to keep it a secret for the rest of my life, but I know I can't do that. I know coming clean with being HIV+ will most likely mean I have to come clean with being gay and I know my life will change forever. But I guess this is what I get for making such a stupid mistake, right?

I need help because I honestly don't know what to do. I want to tell them, but need to know how. I know I need to see a doctor and I know I need to get some more tests done, but I also need my mother's help and getting that help means I come clean.

Can anyone give me an idea on what to do? How to tell them and how I can do it without completely throwing them for a loop? The worst thing I can do, on top of all of this, is to hurt my mom.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: June 15, 2006, 04:05:21 AM by funkaholic »

Offline Cliff

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  • Posts: 2,645
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2006, 04:28:11 AM »
I'm sorry about your diagnosis.  It will take a while for things to settle-down/sink in, so try not to be in a rush to do too much at once.  You'll have plenty of time to tell people, so make sure you are completely ready to have those discussions before you do (cause once you've opened up about it, you can't take it back). 

Did the place you were diagnose have a counseling center?  You should probably look into getting some counseling to help you sort out your feelings and thoughts.  Group sessions are also good.  Hopefully that place can also assist in locating a doctor for you, so that you can begin the tests necessary to determine where your diagnosis stands.  It sounds as though you were recently infected, so meds are probably a long ways off.  But this can only be confirmed with the other lab reports you will need to have done (and continue to have done periodically).

You've come to a great place.  You can bounce your ideas, thoughts, concerns and fears off those who have been there before (and are still there).  You're not alone.

Cliff

P.S.- If you feel comfortable with stating your location (city), someone is bound to have some suggestions on locations (counseling and support) and perhaps even doctors.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2006, 04:39:28 AM by Cliff »

Offline Jeffreyj

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,403
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2006, 04:42:50 AM »
Hi And welcome to community! you have taken a big step just by telling us your story. Thanks for sharing it with us. I wish you well. First, know that hiv is a manageable disease. I would first point out that beating your self up for being "stupid" is waisted energy. Yeah you made a mistake, but you were lied to. What's done is done. No use in beating a dead horse, it only makes matters worse.
    I found out I was POZ in 1984. I was engaged to be married. I had to tell my soon to be wife. We talked about it and decided to tell my Mom. We kept it secret from all of her family and mine too, except my Mom. We told a shrink too. That was our support group for 15 years. I think you may want to form a support group to help you out. It is a complex and stressful thing you are faced with. I found that support an absolute necessity and helped me get through a tough time. Back in the 80's everyone just kept telling us we were going to die. Happily that is no longer the case

As far as telling your Mom, you can not  be responsible for hurting her. She needs to know if you want to tell her. But don't NOT tell her because you are worried about hurting her. It is up to her to deal with it in her way. Let the chips fall where they may....they will fall anyway and some things are simply out of your control.
There are some great people on this site. I have been a member for a month now and it is one of the best things I've ever done.I hope you will find the same to be true.
Be Strong. Be Brave. You are a brave man for taking the important step in sharing your story with all of us. Thanks for that! I wish you well!
Lots of Love,
Jeff
Positive since 1985

Offline JohnOso

  • Member
  • Posts: 816
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2006, 05:21:13 AM »
Funk,

First, take a deep breath in and EXHALE.  Do it again if you need to.  You are being bombarded with a lot of stuff all at once here, unfortunately.  I am sorry that you are having to go through all this.  I don't know where you are...if you are in the US, then check out this website:

http://www.thebody.com/hotlines.htmlhttp://

Are you out to friends or any other family member?  Consider letting a trustworthy person know what's going on with you.  You need people on your side -- you can't go through this alone, especially at the beginning.  Your life is not over.  You are 21 years old and you're going to make it through this. 

But you need help.  Sometimes it's easier to talk to someone over a telephone first.  They will help you with what you need to do to keep yourself healthy and sane.

And we are here too.  Okay?

John

Offline Markmt

  • Member
  • Posts: 174
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2006, 05:31:46 AM »
Hi funkA, I do not have much more advise to add with what has already been stated above. I  welcome you to the forum and do not feel alone, you are  dealing with lots of issues at the moment hopefully you will find the courage and help you need here to sort them all out and pull you through smoothly. These forums through the many various experiences and wonderful people here have been an inspiration and encouragement for many. I have no doubt the same will be for you. Looking forward to read more of you,

Hugs,

mark
"Live to love and love to live."

Leo Buscaglia

Offline Andy Velez

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 23,862
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 09:28:46 AM »
Welcome! I'm very glad you have found your way here.

You've had a very big shock and right now it may be overwhelming. But it's not going to stay that way. Gradually as you get more information and make connections here and elsewhere you will see that your life is going to go on and it's going to be good. There will be some different things to be aware of and pay attention to, but HIV will only be a part of your life.

You don't have to rush to disclose your status. Please read the lesson on this site about disclosure if you haven't already done so. Maybe there is a close friend in your life whom you would feel comfortable talking with. You might also contact any HIV/AIDS service organization in your area and ask if they offer either indiividual or group counseling.

It will be important to for you to get a doctor whom you can work with and develop a good partnership. That will include having regular tests to monitor your numbers. But this is not something you have to resolve today or tomorrow. You're not going to suddenly fall through a black hole. You're just at the very beginning of learning how to take care of yourself about HIV. It will take time but you're going to learn everything you need to know and most importantly, you don't have to do it alone.

Reaching out to others here is a good first step. What you want to avoid is isolation. You haven't done anything "wrong." Be gentle on yourself. You've contracted a virus and it requires certain things to keep you healthy.

You can always ask any questions here that you want to or discuss anything that's on your mind.

Keep us posted on how it's going.

We wish you didn't need to be here, but we're glad to be here for you.

Cheers,
Andy Velez

Offline aztecan

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,358
  • 28 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2006, 10:31:08 AM »
Hey FunkA,
Sorry for this bad news and the turmoil it has caused, but glad you found us. You are welcome here.
NOW - first, start reading the lessons here at this site. They are a great way to start educating yourself about being positive and how to deal with things , including, as Andy said, disclosure.

You have had great advice regarding this, so I won't add anything. I would add that, if you are in the U.S., find out if there is an AIDS service organization near you. If so, go see them.

Depending on your income level, they can help set you up with services, including a doctor. They probably know which doctors in your area specialize in HIV care as well, which is important.

Because you are an adult, this may be an avenue for you to access the care you need without involving your mother. That way, you won't feel you have to tell her right now and can wait until you are really ready.

In the meantime, please take a few moments to just breathe. Don't try to do this all at once. And, please come back and let us know how you are doing and feeling.

By the way, chances are I was infected when I was 23 years old. I will be 49 next month. So, please keep in mind you won't get sick or die tomorrow, unless you get hit by a bus or some such.

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: June 15, 2006, 10:35:14 AM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,639
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2006, 10:57:21 AM »
Sorry you had to join us and the way it happened.  As Andy mentioned HIV is now a part of your life.  RIght now it might seem like it EVERYTHING and YOUR WHOLE LIFE.  After time, you will learn that it's just another part of who you are.

Let me stress what Cliff said.  Be careful WHEN and WHo you disclose to.  Once the cat is out of the bag, that's it.  You might think even your closet friend and confident will hold the secret but don't count on it. 

There is a great book called THE FIRST YEAR:  HIV. An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, by Brett Grodeck. Between that book and the help you get from your friends here you will be just fine. 

It might seem like the world is crashing in on you right now but please don't dwell on it.  I know easy for me to say.  But look at Mark and Jefferey.  They were both in their early 20's and look at them now.  Strong, sturdy pillars of society (lol.)

robert
« Last Edit: June 15, 2006, 11:02:19 AM by Robert »
..........

Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,232
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2006, 11:23:00 AM »
Hi Funk,

I can understand how you feel.  I found out I was HIV+ this past March, and it was a major blow.  I felt stupid, dirty, like a total fuck up.  I even had to consciously do breathing exercises to keep away panic attacks those first few weeks.  There are three things that really helped me, and still do.  One, you've found it: this website.  It, and its many members are the best.  Second, I confided in a couple really good friends.  Third, and this may or may not apply to you, I prayed a lot.  I didn't pray to be negative again; I knew that wouldn't happen.  I prayed to be able to handle this.  I knew my status wouldn't change; I prayed to change and deal with this.  I feel pretty much like my old self most of the time.  Of course, the fact that my Dr. prescribed Prozac to help with the anxiety and panic attacks (never had 'em before) contributed to my feeling better.

Listen to what these people tell you.  There's a lot of experience and information for you here that you won't get anywhere else.  Relax and give yourself some time to figure things out.  That's easier said than done, I know.  I had my first appt. within a week of finding I was poz.  Coming out as gay isn't always all that bad, either.  In my case, I've never had any problems with it.  I don't advertise the fact that I'm a queer, but friends know.  If others figure it out (how many 40 year old men have room mates?), that's fine too.  That's one burden I'm glad to not have to carry around any more.

Things will be ok.  They'll be different, but you'll adjust.  There really isn't any option to adjust, in my opinion.  Just forgive yourself first and the rest will come much easier.  Take care.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline skeebo1969

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,667
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2006, 12:43:34 PM »

Hi funk, welcome to the forums.  I was diagnosed on September 14, 2005 and I went through some of the same feeling you are going through now.  Don't worry about disclosure right now, you need to give yourself time to let all this sink in.  There is no way you can prepared to face any possible negative reactions you may get.  I know that I was not, I found this out 1 week after my diagnosis when I started disclosing to people close to me.  Big mistake!!  Here I was still recovering from the shock of being HIV+ and now I added someone else's feelings in the mix.

There will be plenty of time for disclosure later.  Only you can determine when the right time will be, but that should not be a worry right now.  Follow the advice some of the others have given you.  Try to get some counseling and definitely find a doctor that you feel comfortable with. 

What is your support group like?  Any friends that you can look to for emotional support?  If not I would definitely seek out some form of counseling, whether group or therapist.  You could discuss with others on issues such as disclosure.

You are definitely in the right place...  This was one of the few support systems I had !

Take it easy and most of all do not beat yourself up!  It does no good!

Thomas
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline funkaholic

  • member
  • Posts: 2
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2006, 12:58:25 PM »
Thank you all for the quick replies! I'll try and answer as many questions as I possibly can.

Right now I am not out to any of my friends. There are a few gay guys I know, but I honestly am not really that close to them. As for not telling my mother right away, it'll tough because I'm not sure I have the resources to fight this on my own. I don't make much money and am a college student to boot. I've read a lot on the subject over the past few days and from what I've gathered, it does cost money for treatment.

There is an AIDS Center here, which I've decided to go to next week. I also was counseled after my results were disclosed to me, but that only had minimal help.

Again thanks for the replies and I'll let you know how things go!

Offline Cliff

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,645
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2006, 01:27:09 PM »
I'm glad you are connected with at least your local AIDS resource.  They should be able to assist you in determing the most appropriate way to approach/paying for your treatment.  You will have options available to you, so don't stress over having to pay for your treatment out of pocket.  Just make sure you discuss that this is a concern of yours when you visit your local AIDS resource and they should be able to help you navigate health care coverage and HIV treatment, which can be complicated.

Offline Markmt

  • Member
  • Posts: 174
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2006, 01:45:45 PM »
Hi FunkA, good to read you back. You are dealing with a double edged sword. Being gay and HIV. I believe you should set proirites. If you dont have anyone to talk about it maybe its good to connect with someone on the forums maybe in your area but it dosent really matter as long as you can confind in someone. - kind of make things easier and its comforting.

I think your health is a priority at present and its good to know where you stand with the virus (I think being its in its very early stages you wont be going anywhere to soon, and hopefully you wont be needing meds for a while, but its good to have that on paper) Then start dealing with the other issues. Eventually you will build yourself to what you feel is best for you. Dont act in haste. Keep us posted and take care and remember you are not alone,

mark
"Live to love and love to live."

Leo Buscaglia

Offline Rob - Dublin

  • Member
  • Posts: 51
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2006, 02:44:58 PM »
Hi Funk,

Welcome!. Im just about a month here and still learning also. Im 27, gay, live in Ireland and was infected after a stupid fuck session even though i've bee so careful since i was 16.. Im gonna be very poz here. I've decided that the only way i am gonna manage my HIV is by being positive about it. I've  now built it into my life and decided that its a positive thing realy. Im gonna have a better health n fitness regime, better diet and look after me better. It was very important for me to point out to myself that life is changed, NOT ended. U are not alone (as the old song goes - or are u too young to remember it!) should always ring out to you as being what this site is all about.

We are all in this together and can help each other. Jusst ask.

Take care

Rob
14 Dec 2005 Tested Neg
21 Jan 2006 Infected
09 May 2006 Tested Poz
29 May 2006 CD4 551  (33%) VL 21,000
10 July 2006 CD4 632  (34%) VL 24,500

......when i'm good, i'm very good - when i'm bad i'm even better......

Dream as if you will live forever - Live as if you will die today.....

Offline Andy Velez

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 23,862
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2006, 03:48:14 PM »
Funk, just keep in mind you don't have to rush into things including disclosure and treatment. Take your time. And you might be eligible for financial support as well as other kinds through your HIV/AIDS service organization.

What Cliff said to you about holding off with disclosure is very important. Although you have nothing to be ashamed about, this is still a world in which disclosure does present potential problems, so you need to do thoughtfully and selectively.

Unfortunately when you are feeling overwhelmed you can all too easily panic into spilling beans unnecessarily and it's not in your best interest to do that.

Keep breathing, take your time and your path will become clearer. No kidding. 
Andy Velez

Offline Shawn Decker

  • Member
  • Posts: 78
  • "Gee, Shawn!"
    • MY PET VIRUS
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2006, 04:12:35 PM »
Hey Funk,

As mentioned above, it's important to process the information before opening that up to outside drama, which is inherent in telling loved ones.  A support group could help, but getting info and reaching out on here is a great start.  And, as far as I'm concerned, the healthiest thing you can do is connect with others who have shared the concerns you are now going through.

Oh, and your life is not over.  Not by a longshot.  :)
Shawn

Offline david25luvit

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,409
  • Member since March 2005
Re: I'm new and here's my story.
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2006, 01:36:17 AM »
Hey Funkaholic....  You've been given some really good suggestions by others here so let me just say
WELCOME.  As Cliff said...You are not alone!  It will take time for this news to sink in.  There are many
aspects to our little bug and it takes time to absorb most of it.  I, too, am glad you found your way here
and that here you can find information and the much needed support we all need.  Take a deep breath
and then learn as much as about HIV as you can....You mentioned an Aids Center.  Go........when you're
comfortable.  Life throws a lot of difficult challenges our way sometimes but just remember to keep your
head up and your spirits high.  Looking forward to reading your post. :)
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

 


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