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Author Topic: Reaching Inward: A Revelation  (Read 1736 times)

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Offline marc11864

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Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« on: February 02, 2007, 05:31:05 PM »
This may become in a way therapeutic for me and it also may help others with a similar situation. But that was not my intent. I will discuss all of this with my therapist.

This is not to provoke discussion intended to shame others, nor a condemnation of those who partake in the act of * gifting. I don't necessarily support those who have righteous indignation regarding that act either.

This following is simply the partial posting of thoughts of mine while writing an email from myself to another man whom I suspect may already be positive but who had communicated to me his desire to engage in sex with me without protection to fulfill his fantasies. It is also about my own demons.

I would hope that you not take these words and use them like a club over the head of someone in an effort to get them to come around to, "your way of thinking" and that it instead allows us all to engage in dialog to limit the spread of HIV.  ‘Cause we all know, "It ain't all that".

I consider it the beginning of my own penance.

You're encouraged to contribute to this thread but I am not seeking absolution from any of you for my past indiscretions. That will need to come from within me.

Thank you for reading.


  • ... It wasn't until I started to write this, that I understood this fantasy of gifting but I do now at least in the context of my own kink. But infecting others is something that I obviously harbor guilt about since I may have passed it to my friend accidentally, who most supported me in my own time of need. The last thing that I ever wanted to do during a time when I was myself getting thoroughly fucked and knowing that I was likely being infected was to infect someone in turn. I knew the consequences to myself and embraced them but I did not care enough to understand that I might have to accept them for someone else. Crazy I know, but all my life I've felt a responsibility to others who were vulnerable and I've despised those who would take advantage of them for their own benefit. And now I come to the realization that I am just as irresponsible if not as callous as many of those people whom I detest. ...

While I was not seeking to become positive, I had become so disillusioned by what was happeneing in my life at the time that I just didn't care about my health anymore. Sex simply had become an escape for me.

As a postscript to the above information that I have shared with you here on this AIDSMeds Forum, immediately after I tested positive for HIV I was asked by the State Health Department of NC to relinquish the names of any possible partners whom I may have been with in an effort to track and limit any damage done. I asked that they instead let me contact that person first and so within two days I contacted my friend and told him the result of my HIV test. He in that typical Buddhist voice of the Thais' told me that he also had a level of responsibility in what occurred.

Five months later, he too tested positive for HIV.

He has much more limited access to health care and cannot bring him self to address it due to the stigma that he now faces in his country. As of November 2006, he has not had any lab tests to determine his current health condition.



* Gifting: The act of engaging in unprotected high risk sex in an effort to become HIV positive.


Last Edit: Added "While I was not seeking...  Sex simply had become an escape for me." for clarity.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2007, 07:51:59 PM by marc11864 »
Let us cavort like the Greeks of old! You know the ones I mean.

Offline SirPrize

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Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2007, 06:43:41 PM »
I've never heard this term of "gifting" as you've defined it.  In my opinion, this is yet another example of PC terms gone amok.  A more appropriate term for the definition you've provided would be cursing, or infecting with malice, or intentional bodily harm, whether on the giving or receiving end of the stick (no pun intended).

I find it disturbing that anyone would knowingly and willingly want to become infected with HIV and equally disturbing that one would oblige such a request.  I don't pretend to be so naive to assume that these morbid desires are not being fulfilled.  I'm just saying I find it disturbing.

We've all heard the saying; "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."  I can't think of a more apropos slogan to apply to this definition of "gifting".

I'd better hush now before I say what I really mean!
Due to current economic conditions, the light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarily turned off!

Offline DanielMark

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Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2007, 04:30:56 AM »
I find it disturbing that anyone would knowingly and willingly want to become infected with HIV and equally disturbing that one would oblige such a request.

Thank you for saying what I am too gob-smacked to think of saying. I know it goes on (I've even been solicited to participate in the past), yet I find it heartbreakingly unbelievable in a way. Like a nightmare, if you will.

Daniel
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2007, 10:41:09 AM »

While I was not seeking to become positive at the time, I had become so disillusioned by what was happeneing in my life at the time that I just didn't care about my health anymore. Sex simply had become an escape for me.

  DanielMark and Sirprize,

    While I do agree with you, I think we also have to recognize the quote above from Marc's post.  :'(


  Marc,

     I appreciate you being so open and honest about this.  I often wonder about myself and how I put myself at risk when I became infected.   Your post is definitely food for thought.... for me anyways. 

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

Offline mjmel

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Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2007, 10:59:50 AM »
Hello Mark11864,
     I am amazed that you would choose to post these very intimate and difficult thoughts in a general forum. Hope you heal.
Yes, I certainly will pass you that Yin and Yang!

xxx,
Mike

Offline rick21007

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Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2007, 05:51:25 PM »

"I had become so disillusioned by what was happeneing in my life at the time that I just didn't care about my health anymore. Sex simply had become an escape for me."

 Mark--what a courageous post!   And Bingo! Did that ever hit me between the eyes.  The sad thing is that within a year after I allowed myself to be infected because of my don't-give-a-shit-attitude (hey--we _both_ had condoms--just never cared to take them outta the package that night.) I met the Love of My Life and it was because I wanted to be sure I did not infect him that I got myself tested.  Suddenly I cared _very_ much!!!

Personally I think the whole safe sex ad campaigns are like the "just say no to drugs" campaigns in the schools a few decades ago. Like what would cause a reasonabley stable , intelligent, educated and seemingly rational man to do something so totally irrational as allow himself to be infected???  You know this whole thread has gotten me to thinking.  I am a facilitator for a coalition of local GSA clubs (Gay/
Straight Alliance)  We do sexual health education as part of our mission and I have been considering coming out as a poz to the kids, but have been unclear as to the redeeming social value of doing this.  Now I  feel like I have some direction----Gee Mark, you just never know who your comments might end up impacting!!

Rick

Offline poet

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Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2007, 05:49:24 AM »
Marc, this is a very honest, very important post and I thank you for placing it here.  I think it important enough that I am back modifying my first post because either I am missing something or not.  The piece of a message you sent to someone who may now be positive is not only someone who had contacted you about gifting him, but dates to a time when you knew that he were sero-positive and, if so, is this someone with whom you ultimately had unsafe sex (with the knowledge that he wanted you to infect him and that he could be so infected)?  There is another friend, the person about whom you were writing to the first person, who might have accidentally (and indeed was) infected by you?  Five months later this second friend tested positive, but I can't tell whether we, as readers, can assume that there is a likelihood that he became infected by someone before he had sex with you or afterwards.  I don't want to hijack your thread for harm reduction purposes, but having been involved in studies in NYC and working with harm reduction here on the Cape and Islands, the more any of us can get a clear picture of what happened, why it happened and if it could, somehow, have been prevented, the better tools we can come up with, the more practical the concepts.  It may be more important to allow others who identify with where you were to post here and I hope that they do.  Best, Win
« Last Edit: February 04, 2007, 06:30:52 AM by poet »
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline marc11864

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  • I apologize for nothing!
Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2007, 04:31:49 PM »
Hi all,

 Thank you all for reading and for sharing your thoughts. I find it as difficult to read now as it was when I wrote it both to the young man and here on the forum. But I felt that I had to in spite of the conflict I've had.

 Rick, I feel truly humbled that it has had such an affect on you.

 Win, I'm not quite sure if you are asking this, but the person that I wrote the email to is a wholly different person from the friend whom I believe that I may have infected. When I wrote to him, I meant to convey to him that with the burden of guilt and anguish that I carry about possibly unintentionally infecting my friend, I could certainly not engage in this kind of activity for recreation. In so writing the letter, I began to see how deep the rabbit hole went for me on a personal level. I understand now that often we don't even begin to understand the consequences of even the most minor of our actions.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2007, 04:34:09 PM by marc11864 »
Let us cavort like the Greeks of old! You know the ones I mean.

Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2007, 06:56:21 AM »
Hi Marc.  I hope I didn't make this conversation more uncomfortable for you, which was not my point in asking questions.  I did need to be absolutely clear where gifting came in, who was who.  Sex is always, will always be, about two people, two choices, two actions when overshadowed by std's.  Now while you found yourself at one point getting f----d often and so, perhaps, more at risk of becoming infected, those who were f-----g you (if I have gotten this right) were part of this scenario.  If they knew their sero status, weren't they gifting to someone who had asked for the gift, deciding what you needed for you?  Is that ever a right?  If  they didn't absolutely know that they were positive, could they not assume that given what they chose to do, most likely regularly, would/could make them positive?  If we are talking about what amounts to anonymous sex, how much does either person know about the other?  Isn't this why some insist on condoms everytime for everything?  Because there are always too many unknowns?

Your sex with your friend, which was not anonymous sex simply reminds all of us that it is never easy.  You didn't know that you were positive, only assumed that you might be/were.  He agreed to have sex with you and the sort of sex you had with him.  Now we have talked about superinfection in the forums, we have asked about studies in which both people were positive and both undetectable on meds, but since studies are not guarantees, even people with the facts, the studies, the conversation could still have sex and find out that it had gone wrong for one of the people involved: somehow, despite all the effort, something had been passed along.  Condoms can fail.  Let me repeat that, condoms can fail.  Despite the best efforts of the brightest people, condoms can fail and what was meant as an act of sex and love can become a disaster.  All we can do is look at the situation, talk about it, make a decision and allow us to change our decisions at will.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2007, 03:47:18 PM »
Hey Marc,

This is one of the more honest and personal accounts I've run across.   

I think most gay men can relate to self destructive behavior, although few will own up to it as you have.

Wesley
Diag. 3/06  Infected aprx. 2 mo. Prior
Date        CD4   %      VL
4/6/06     627    32    36,500     NO MEDS YET!
6/7/06     409    27    36,100
8/23/06   408    25     22,300
1/2/07     354    23     28,700
2/9/07     139    30     23,000  Hep A Vaccine same day???
2/21/07   274    26     18,500 
3/3/07    RX of Truvada/Sustiva Started.
4/5/07    321     27      Undectable 1st mo.  
5/16/07  383     28    Undectable 2nd mo.
8/10/07  422     32   UD <48 on new scale!

Offline dtwpuck

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  • дано мне тело, что мне делать с ним?
Re: Reaching Inward: A Revelation
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2007, 07:02:17 PM »
Marc... I congratulate you on such a heartfelt post.  I've read it several times, and wanted to say something, but needed some time to compose a response worthy of such beautiful honesty.   Open discussions like yours really feel me with hope that stark personal evaluation is really the way to understand yourself, understand life.

I think back to a time after I seroconverted.  I had met a man who I loved very much.  We were together for five years.  He knew I was positive.  At first we used condoms.  But, we stopped.  I remember the day it happened, I remember him asking me, and I remember doing it.  I still remember how close he felt that day, how much I wanted him... 

Within six months my guilt started ruining our relationship.  I stopped wanting to have sex with him and started nagging him to get tested.  It took me a year to convince him, and he finally tested positive.  He told me in such a matter-of-fact way, with a smile, like I would be the one who needed consoling.   (which was, in fact true)  I told him I felt responsible and that it was incredibly selfish of me to top him without a condom.  He told me that there was no way to tell if I was the one or if he already had it before we met.  I asked him if he was safe before we met.  His answer was "never", and that he didn't care to limit his choices that way.

I still don't understand it, because I think I like to believe that if I could go back in time, I might make different choices.  But through my relationship with D I came to accept that each of us makes choices in life that might not necessarily be in his or her best interest.  Those of us who feel responsibility for stopping the spread of this disease also have the right to make choices regarding the protection of those we love.

I loved D.  We didn't last.  I still feel like he is my greatest failure.  It hurts sometimes to think about the cute way he smiled, and the silly things we did together.  In many ways, that one moment started our demise.  Maybe we would have failed otherwise, but at least I wouldn't be bearing the guilt I still feel for possibly infecting him.  You see, even though D felt that it could have been others, the bitter truth is that at that moment it wasn't my intention to behave any differently than I did.  It might as well have been me.  For that, I haven't ever really been able to forgive myself.    And for that, it's why I only date other HIV positive guys.

I thank you for making me bring my own feelings to the front.  I think that's why I hang out here... because it's so tough for me to vocalize my history.  I spend most of my time teaching, being the expert, knowing the right answer... in truth I don't know how to feel sometimes and I need to see what others see in order to remember that I too am weak.

~puck
Floating through the void in the caress of two giant pink lobsters named Esmerelda and Keith.

 


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