Thursday, April 19, 2012
Just*in Time: February 2012 -- From A&U Magazine, America's AIDS Magazine
I was just wondering what your view was on abstinence? Do you think it's a good thing, possible, or is it unrealistic?
Thanks in advance.
Every time I hear one of my friends say, "I'm going to be abstinent," I think about the reasons why they might say so. There are so many reasons. Some of the people I know decide to because of spiritual reasons, some do it because they are scared of catching HIV or an STI, and others because they suffer from low self-esteem and fear rejection. Listen, if you want to remain abstinent it is okay. I honestly think that anyone who wants to can, but do it for the right reasons.
Do it because you want to and not because you are scared of something. Most of the friends that I have that are abstinent for spiritual reasons usually are able to be abstinent longer than my friends that don't, but that is only my experience. Also abstinence is the only 100 percent way not to be sexually infected with HIV or any other STI. I for one could not do it at all. As some of you know I've been married since August 7, 2009, but before I dated my husband I was single and I thought about abstinence. Honey, if it works for you do it, but as for me I couldn't.
I've been seeing a man for about two years now. I've been positive for about five years; my boyfriend is also HIV-positive and he has been infected since 2006. He wants to have unprotected sex. Should I do it? I'm so unsure about this -- please help!
Listen up and listen up good. Do not do something you are unsure about or something that you are scared of. Go with your gut. I can't tell you what to do but I can only speak of what I would do. I've been with the same man for almost six years and we still have protected sex. Just because you both have HIV doesn't mean that neither one of you are not open to being able to be infected with other STIs. There are things such as hepatitis C, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, etc., that you can catch without using a condom.
But there is another side of the controversial subject that I will try to explain, because my opinion is not the be-all end-all say-so of sex between two HIV-positive people. So, you and your partner have been together and, if you are monogamous, there are some ways that people can get around harming either HIV-positive partner when having unprotected sex, but they are very risky. You need to have a very open and honest conversation with your partner about STIs, drug resistance, and treatment history. With HIV comes being susceptible to other STIs. Be ready to take those infections on just in case you are infected with one of them. Please keep in mind that chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are curable and less harmful if caught and treated early, but there is no cure for hepatitis C or herpes.
Knowing your resistances to any HIV drugs is paramount in this context, too. For example, say you're taking Atripla and you become resistant to Atripla; if you have unprotected sex then there is a chance that your partner might become resistant to his own medication. Past treatment is also important as well. Please discuss all the above with your partner. Thanks ... and as the fabulous Miranda Priestley from the infamous movie The Devil Wears Prada says, "That's all!" :-)
A couple of weeks ago I received this e-mail from Bobby William:
"I'd like to ask a favor of you. I like your HIV letter idea, but I can't print it out in Braille. If you don't mind, would you mind reading it for me? If you wish to email me privately, email me on _______".
I sent an e-mail saying that I would. Bobby has such a great spirit and I admire his courage. Here is his letter Bobby I hope I did you proud and thank you so much You're story was so touching to me. HUGS
People say that eyes are a window into the soul, but what about memories? Don't they count for something as well? I'm blind, gay, and I can remember my life changing all because of you.
I can clearly remember the first time ever truly hearing about you. It was a high school health class and all of us were instructed to do some research on a common STD. I chose you because I wanted to get to know you and to see what kind of damage that you did to people. I didn't know that I'd meet you face to face the next year.
When I met you I was homeless, roaming the streets hoping to find some sort of perishable food. It was late at night and I had just found a nice truck to sleep in and so I curled up with my backpack in the truck bed. Suddenly, I felt the glare of a flashlight on my face, demanding to know why I was in his truck. After some arguing and bickering, he took me into his home, and gave me his couch to sleep on ... the first one I had ever slept on in years. His name, I came to learn, was Brian. Brian took me into his home, and we soon became boyfriends. I didn't know that he was infected with you until my first heated passionate uproar. I wanted to make love to Brian so bad that it literally hurt me that he didn't want to pursue the same actions as I wanted. I didn't understand until he told me that he had you coursing through his body. I now understood what a horrible thing you were. What I didn't understand was why you would do this to a respected African-American teacher who liked to bowl every Tuesday night and have scented candles sitting near his tub every night when we took a soft bath together. I just don't get it at all. Why would you infect someone so pure hearted and strong?
As I grew and became stronger, graduating high school, I watched you work your magic on this 32-year-old man. I watched you eat away at his T cells and his immune system all because of a blood transfusion. Towards the end, I stayed home with him and cared for him. He helped me survive the bitter world and I was trying to help him survive your bitter plight. I lay with him as he vomited, and shook in my arms, unable to fight you off any longer. I didn't know how to handle this at all. I was only 19 at the time. I didn't know how to fight you, but trust me; I did everything that I could. He couldn't teach anymore, and it soon got to be so bad that he was hospitalized.
On his last day ... I held Brian's hand as he faded away from me, his HIV medicine utterly useless to him now. By the tone of the doctors, I was certain he looked as white as a sheet, but I stuck with him as he cried through the nights, as he vomited on my clothes and as he tried to lurch to the bathroom with my help. If you were going to have it your way, I was going to fight you every step of the way. I was going to be with him until the end, and I was. His last hours were of encouragement to me. We lay on his bed, with him in my arms. He kept telling me to never give up and be the best that I could possibly be. I promised him I would, and after I did that, I felt his chest stop moving, and I felt his breath stop hitting me with spurts. It was April 10th, 2010. The day I graduated high school was when Brian died.
Brian was a good person and I took his words to heart. I walked across that stage, and grabbed my diploma all the while with tears gushing down my face. Brian told me to be strong however, so I was. After my graduation, I went to college, and became a writer and a motivational speaker, using the money obtained to donate to HIV research labs and medical teams in the United States. I won't back down and I definitely won't give up. I go to schools and educate them about you, and I'm actively participating in many ways to eradicate you from this earth. I may be blind, but you have not sapped away my sight. I see the people who battle you every day just as Brian did and I see the advances we make to beat you. I'll tell you something here and now. When that first cure is administered, my cane and I will be way out in the front row of onlookers grinning broadly. Soon, you won't be a problem anymore, and I will be there to watch every second of it.
-- Bobby William