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Author Topic: New to the forums  (Read 3242 times)

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Offline waisland

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  • Posts: 8
New to the forums
« on: September 04, 2013, 05:49:02 PM »
Hi, I've used these forums as a resource since being diagnosed and have decided to join myself. :)  I usually can't handle super long posts, but I want to share my experiences so I'll give an abridged version first:

I'm 21 from Miami, seroconverted in April, diagnosed in May, saw my first doctor in June, and began Stribild last week.

And the long version:

I am a 21 year old male from Miami.  I was unfortunately exposed to crystal meth in high school and have had on and off issues with it, though never long term.  Separately, I had struggled financially to afford an expensive art school in Chicago, and I'd been taking time off to save money to return.  I finally returned this past January, and couldn't have been happier.

In April, midway through the semester, I had taken some Adderall to get schoolwork done, but I must've taken a bit too much, because the craving for meth took over after nearly a year clean.  I made some mistakes that weekend, and sure enough, two weeks later I came down with what I thought was nasty food poisoning, followed by gingivitis, followed by gastritis, followed by an esophageal ulcer.  I got two IVs, lost 35 pounds, and failed all my classes over attendance.

I returned to Miami in May, and got tested a week before my 21st at an Out of the Closet with my best friend as an annual tradition, when learned I was positive.  A part of me had always suspected my irresponsibility would catch up, but I just could never have imagined how it would feel when it became real.

It felt like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuBaoba7UGw

I made the decision to immediately tell my family, who have been extremely supportive and have come to all my initial appointments.  Once I received my initial bloodwork results (237,000VL/ 430 CD4), I decided to be very open with my status, letting friends know when I saw them and making it clear that it was not a secret.  My circle of friends, a mixed bag of straight and gay, male and female, didn't know anyone else our age who was positive, and didn't realize how real the risk was.  Sick of the night sweats, I began taking Stribild just under a week ago.  Got the nausea, got the runs, and I puked yesterday, but I can handle it.

Over these past five months, two things in particular have surprised me:

1) HIV has done more good for me than bad.  I had already been iffy with drugs, and this was the slap in the face I needed to really cut them out of my life.  Cigarettes are coming next.  Maybe I'll even go to the gym.  It's given me a sense of direction that I feel I had lost after I dropped out of school.  I'm focusing on freelancing as a web developer, and I feel much more in control of my life.  Sure, I have some days when I'll cry about it or feel weak, but the good days seem to be more frequent (so far).

2) I feel more comfortable with my sexuality.  I've been out since middle school, but have always been just a bit uneasy with certain aspects of my sexuality.  I usually resist gay culture, I don't get the references, and I don't go to the bars.  But lately I feel I've been less self-loathing... I follow some gay blogs now and caught up on Drag Race!  I'm able to accept that enjoying certain aspects of gay culture doesn't define me as something separate from everyone else.

I still feel a little lost, though, because I don't personally know anyone else with HIV.  It would really make me feel better to have a friend going through, or who has gone through, what I currently am.  I've thought about going to support groups, but I'll admit I'm a little nervous.  I even messaged a guy on Grindr who was poz asking if he'd be willing to get lunch and talk (but no reply).  For now, I'll start by posting here :)


Offline Jeff G

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  • Member
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  • How am I doing Beren ?
Re: New to the forums
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 06:03:45 PM »
Hi Waisland , welcome to the forum .

I'm struck by your good attitude and I know it will help you going forward . We have many people here who have had HIV longer than you have lived yet , so your going to be just fine in time . Welcome and I'm glad you found us , sorry you needed too .
HIV 101 - Basics
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here
PEP and PrEP

Offline WillyWump

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  • Posts: 7,367
Re: New to the forums
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 06:16:35 PM »
Welcome aboard Waisland,

Sounds like you you've got a pretty good grasp on things, this will help you greatly as you navigate through the world of HIV. Keep your head up and chest out!

I hope you finally settled in with the Stribild and aren't having any more probs.

Good hearing your story and hope to see ya around ;)


POZ since '08

Last Labs-
11-6-14 CD4- 871, UD
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir

Offline EUINAU

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  • Posts: 71
  • New to This
Re: New to the forums
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 06:36:08 PM »
Hi Waisland,

I was also recently infected and diagnosed and started meds straightaway. I too feel in some aspect things got better as I always struggled with will power of hitting the gym. Now it's an objective I take seriously and enjoying it.

I did not tell anyone except for my partner and to be honest I do not feel the need to tell anyone, however mainly because I am almost twice your age and experienced bullying and stigma of being gay. I am not out at work, though out to my friends.

I do not know anyone positive and this forum has been amazing in offering support and there is Poz Personals section I am sure there will be an opportunity for you to meet someone from your area and talk about stuff you'd like to share.

I have joined the personals and have been chatting to couple of guys, it helps :)

Just my two cents worth...

Offline wolfter

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  • Posts: 5,470
Re: New to the forums
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 07:15:46 PM »
Welcome to the forums.  That's a great mindset, one which many struggle with for years to come to grips with their infection.  That was also a bold and courageous action you took regarding your status. 

I too tested positive at age 21 during college thanks to bad drunken behaviors on my 21st birthday.   ;)   But that was a LONG time ago.

Again, welcome and looking forward to hearing more from you. 

PS, we have an annual get-together and this year we went to Chicago.  Part of me is still recovering even after 3 weeks.

Being honest is not wronging others, continuing the dishonesty is.

Offline phildinftlaudy

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  • Posts: 2,985
  • sweet Ann what you think babe...
Re: New to the forums
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 07:20:11 PM »
Hi Waisland:

Welcome -
As others have said, sorry that you had reason to find us (a/k/a positive diagnosis), but glad that you did...

Tons of support here -
We are a very eclectic family..... and function just as dysfunctionally as most  ;D

I live in North Miami and work downtown Miami...
Been diagnosed for 5 years (9/13/08)

Currently on Atripla - been on it since about a year and 1/2 after diagnosis.

Get my medical care at University of Miami outpatient clinic - downtown... Have a great ID doctor who understands me and lets me vent when I need to (and threaten to fire her every now and then - LOL)....

Once you have posted three times, you should be able to send private messages - so feel free to send me one and perhaps we can get together for a bite to eat....

My partner is also positive - he is a LTS (he was diagnosed around 1991).... we have been together (on and off - fortunately more on these days than off) for 10 years this November....

And, you may have seen in another post, my brother was HIV+ (unfortunately, he chose to keep it a secret from everyone, including me) and passed away just about 4 months ago of AIDS related complications (a/k/a a shitload of OIs that tore him apart).... Still grieving his passing and wishing that the outcome would have been different... but learning from it, just the same....

Anyway, once again - WELCOME.... Kick back, enjoy, participate, and most importantly LIVE!!

« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 07:23:44 PM by phildinftlaudy »
September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
03/12  1,041  42  <20
05/12  1,241  47  <20
08/12   780    37  <20
11/12   549    35  <20
02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

Offline tednlou2

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,731
Re: New to the forums
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2013, 12:26:58 AM »
Welcome to the forums.  As we always say, sorry you had to find us, but glad you did.  I admire how you just told everyone right away. 

I don't have any friends here, who are poz.  I know of some people, but we aren't close friends.  There is one member here, who I knew years ago.  He hasn't posted in probably two years.  I don't even see him posting on Facebook anymore, so I've been wondering how he's doing.

I love the Miami area.  We plan to make it back there around the holidays.  I am also glad your family has been so supportive and have gone to doc appointments with you.  I wish everyone had families like that. 

Keep in touch.


Offline waisland

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
Re: New to the forums
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2013, 04:44:07 PM »
Thanks for the welcome, everyone.  And yes phild!  I'll PM you once I post once more.


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