3 months ago I found out I was hiv positive at 22 after an unprotected sexual encounter with my gay best friend.
The title is self explanatory. My gay friend was going through a hard time and I was too, we had both just broken up with our boyfriends. It was a drunken night and things happened. Being idiotically unaware of the risks I didn't immediately seek medical attention. Needless to say we are no longer friends. As a woman this is the hardest thing I've had to overcome. I don't know how to live with this. There is literally no community for straight women with HIV. So I'm posting here in hopes of finding a kind word. I'm on the edge here guys.
EDIT Hi guys, just got home from work. I can't believe all the support and love I've gotten. It took a lot to post this here but I am so glad I did.
I have not been able to read all the comments but I have noticed a few recurring questions so I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability.
Did my gay friend know he was positive? I believe he did not get tested, even though I had asked in passing a long time before the incident occurred just out of curiosity and he said yes. I think knowing him, he was too afraid to get tested so he ignored it. But after we did the deed he seemed cagey and nervous. I woke up and he was gone.
I had some symptoms and a bad feeling, also a skin rash on my arm. I got tested at the local health center and they called me two weeks later and I went in and got the news. I cried immediately asking about my Boyfriends health and whether or not I could have children someday. I had so much on my mind and I didn't hear a word the lady told me. But I do remember she made me laugh when I got all weird and didn't feel comfortable shaking her hand before I left. She made me comfortable.
I'm in treatment and haven't missed a pill. I moved home with my family to be in a better environment. I got kicked out of my place I was renting because they found out about my status.
I am undetectable. In January I did NOT have HIV. I got tested again in April and got the results in early May. In that time period I had only been with my current Boyfriend and the friend who infected me so narrowing it down was pretty easy when I learned my boyfriend did not have it.
My boyfriend still does not have it despite having unprotected sex on a daily basis before we knew when my viral load was 400,000, now we have protected sex and I take my pill everyday. I'm on Genvoya. I have not heard from My 'friend'.
Some commenters are asking how I got it since getting it through vaginal sex is pretty rare, what actually happened was we started to have vaginal sex and my 'friend' asked to do anal (not surprising) and I had done it before with my ex so I agreed. I'm assuming I had a cut or something and that's how I got it.
Thanks again for all the responses good and bad. Gives me a lot of hope!
BTW, I AM A WOMAN! lol that was kind of my whole point of posting here. A lot of people think I'm a gay man based on the title of the post which just goes to show how people don't think of this as a woman's disease.
Also, I do know that HIV is not a death sentence. I have known that pretty much the entire time. I'm more worried about the quality of life I will lead, the emotional distress, the things I will potentially miss out on.
Hi, MD here- HIV treatment has far outpaced the stigma associated with it to the point that my friends in medical school and I would hold debates as to whether we would rather have diabetes or HIV starting at age 20, with people on both sides of the issue. The MOST important factor is that you take your triple therapy every single day of your life. No exceptions. And see your HIV doc consistently. The way people run into trouble is when the virus becomes resistant because they didn't take their medications. So do whatever you need to- phone alarms, don't eat breakfast until you've taken them, whatever. It's a small price to pay to live a long and relatively normal life!
Edit: Eat breakfast, it's good for you. :-)
I'm both hiv positive and diabetic. Been pos since 2010, and the hiv meds caused diabetes that was diagnosed in 2015. I can say without a doubt that I'd much rather be positive than diabetic. No question. With hiv, I take a pill every day. That's it. No side effects, hassles, testing, diet changes, etc. Most days, I don't even think about hiv. I just take my meds and that's that.
But diabetes? Holy shit man. Change this, do that, stick yourself. And the disconnect between what the doc told me and actual life are crazy. All I'm gonna say is, I was given some bad info by the ADA counselor. Her diet suggestions resulted in way high bg for weeks before I made an account here and asked what the issue was.
Anyway. Hiv is a cakewalk once you get used to seeing a doc and doing blood tests every 3 months. The mental problems it causes are not to be downplayed though. The stigma is still there, and I would never think of telling anyone I'm positive unless we're about to have sex. Most of my family still doesn't even know.
OP it's 2017 you're not going anywhere anytime soon. Imagine how far medicine will come in the next 10-20 years. For all we know you'll be able to get a shot once every 10 years that completely negates the effects or cures the shit. Hang tough
Yeah I am starting to understand that after tons of research, but I'm still so upset that this is happening to me. Even if there was ever a cure or better meds I would have to say at some point 'yes I had hiv' and he stigma attached to it is so severe. I am now undetectable with the meds I'm on which means with a blood test they cannot pick up an trace of the virus so essentially it is dormant. But even if I wanted to have protected sex with another person I could potentially get charged with attempted manslaughter if they claimed i did not tell them I had it. Thankfully I have a supportive boyfriend who knows about my status and loves me anyways. But it makes me feel for the women who don't have that. What do they do? Do they feel like they are unlovable or infectious? What if my boyfriend breaks up with me because of this, or another reason? How would I survive? I mean, just do some reading on reddit and you can see what people think of hiv. It gets you down. Sorry for venting lol
"The HIV meds caused Diabetes.... No Side effects [for taking the HIV pills]" Forgive me; but getting Diabetes seems like a hell of a side effect of those pills.
When I was in college, ten years ago, our health services department said treatment was advanced enough that HIV was now considered a chronic disease instead of a death sentence. So, you're not dying if you keep up with your meds. Your life will be different, and that sucks, but you can find a way through this. There is nothing wrong with needing time to grieve the loss of your healthier self. Give yourself time. If there's no community, maybe you'll eventually feel strong enough to make one. Having a purpose helps.
My second Masters thesis was a demographic life table analysis looking at the effects of HIV or diabetes on life expectancy in NYC in 1990, 2000, and 2010. By 2010 diabetes had a far greater impact on life expectancy (in the bad direction). Also at least one study shows that smoking cigarettes has a greater impact than HIV (all of this assumes access and adherence to treatment of course)
Edit: I forgot, that was actually a course paper not the thesis though I did something similar for the thesis.
HIV MD here.
Sorry to hear you're going through a tough time. Also your current boyfriend sounds amazing.
I take care of many many women living with HIV. So you are not alone.
1) Your life expectancy is 75+ years!
2) You'll have healthy kids when/if you want!
3) You're undetectable which means you can NOT transmit HIV! (once undetectable for 6 mo).
4) It's completely normal to be freaking out. I'd be freaking out if I tested positive. I can tell you from the experienece of my patients it gets better. Soon you'll just take your meds and most days not even think about HIV and go on with being your amazing self.
Shoot me a PM if you want to chat more (as a reddit friend since it sounds like you already have a great MD)!
Looking at it that way, yes, it is. I meant things like headaches and upset stomach on a daily basis.
Of course, it's hard to say if any other problems will come of my meds that I can't foresee now. Things such as arthritis, liver or kidney problems, etc. Optimism is a must in this situation, or it'll drive me nuts thinking about it.
This is kind of unrelated but you're young, please don't "put all of your eggs in one basket" with a guy. Relationships will come and go. The stigma will be hard but don't let this consume your personality, it has nothing to do with who YOU are as a person. There's actually dating sites for people with STDs ext that want to date without worrying about spreading it ext. I don't think anyone is going to try to get you charged with anything if your upfront that's silly. Some people become bitter and vindictive and purposely try to spread things out of anger which is when that kind of legal thing can happen. Be strong OP, find comfort with family and friends and don't rely on a relationship fully for your happiness, you don't wanna have issues and split up you'll end up blaming yourself and your condition and get down in the dumps.
The facts that your levels are undetected is fantastic. All is not lost. I can only imagine how scary it is and intimidating. But there are effective treatments both for you and for your partners.
Dan Savage always says that having HIV is a bit of a supper power. When you disclose to someone you are telling them just a small fact about your self, how they reacts tells you everything about them. It's pretty much an asshole detector, and if a date acts like an asshole once you told them then good riddance.
Finally your gay friend, has he been tested? Because if he knew before your guys encounter then that's a dick move. He needs to disclose, get tested, and get treatment.
Hiv is a cakewalk...
It's amazing to read that and I'm happy you're doing well with it. I lost a friend to AIDS back when it was still a death sentence. I'm not usually one for big pharma, but in this case I'm happy to see such advances being made.
You have to stay optimistic and healthy. There are people with HIV that are living a lot longer than people used to.
I know I'm not female and you may be looking for a female only reply but you have to look at the likes of Freddie Mercury's last boyfriend, he lived until he was 61.
I hope you find a community that can help you through this and I'm so sorry for your circumstances.
I think a lot of people only hear the negative aspects of modern medicine and it creates a really distorted view of the whole medical system. Are there live saving drugs that cost a ridiculous amount of money? Yes, but the thing is that now they exist. While medical costs are going up, research is keeping pace and everyday there are new innovations that keep people alive.
Personally, I'm a Sick Kid. At 17 years old I'm taking 13 pills a day and I see 4-5 different doctors a month. It sucks and I'm incredibly thankful to have Tricare (amazing military insurance) but without Big Pharma I would be bed bound and probably dead.
I wish that medicine wasn't so capitalistic, but it still is incredibly helpful
Exactly this...I am a nurse who works in HIV and like you said, for young women with no issues with substance use, there aren't great supports. I'm sorry this happened to you - it's so unfair. All the comments are about how the treatment is great (which it is) and that you will live a long, full life (which you will). I tell my clients that HIV is not life ending, but it's certainly life changing. Stigma is still a huge issue in many places. It's so important that you find a social network that you feel supported by and have someone safe you can talk to. Where I live, there are some poz women's group that I've attended that are fantastic and tight knit (since there are really many around). I don't necessarily agree that you should only tell sexual partners, but I do caution you to think very carefully about who you tell because you can't take it back once you do. I'm always available to chat too!
Hey, so I work in an HIV care coordination program helping people with HIV manage their health. I'm sorry that you're going through this, and I hope you don't beat yourself up too much. It's not your fault and it doesn't sound as if you did anything "idiotic" (you had no reason to suspect you had to run out to get tested for anything; he was your friend and obviously you trusted him).
Is this going to be a hard adjustment to make? Obviously, yeah. It's a life changing diagnosis, and it kind of shakes up everything in your life. But HIV is a completely manageable chronic condition at this point. You'll need to check in with a doctor regularly, yes, and take medication, but it's absolutely manageable.
Here's just a couple of suggestions:
It sounds like you're already well-linked to care, which is great, and congrats on getting undetectable so quickly! Hopefully you have a good relationship with your provider and if not, you can always shop around - if there's a local LGBT center they may be able to refer you. Regardless, try and stay on top of things and I can't encourage you enough to be open and honest with your care team.
We have some patients who are young and consistently undetectable. They take a pill or two every day, and come in for labs every 4-6 months. Boom, done. This does not need to be a major thing that'll take over your life. You're facing a perfectly normal lifespan already, and the medication is still improving.
For information, forums, etc, you may want to check out Poz magazine and The Body. I know Poz has fairly lively forums, and The Body is a great source of information on anything and everything HIV related. You're absolutely not alone in this!
It's great that your current partner is supportive! That must have been a really hard conversation to have and I'm glad it's working out so well. He may want to talk to his doctor about PrEP, which is a once-daily pill that dramatically reduces the risk of transmission. HOWEVER: if you're undetectable you do not need to worry about transmission! Like, literally not at all. Undetectable is untransmittable. The risk of female-to-male transmission is low to begin with and if you're undetectable, the risk to your partner is so small that researchers consider it completely insignificant.
Irregardless of it he knew it or not, I bet it's hard being friends with the person that ruined your life, knowingly or not.
You're not a jerk for not wanting to fuck them, you're a jerk if you react with horror and disgust and treat them like a pariah.
My wife just had gestational diabetes and her diet counselor had her on a carb heavy diet. Her glucose numbers were always high. She went back to eating normal and cutting back on the grains and her numbers stabilized. I don't understand these doctors.
Thanks, I appreciate the response. I have a very support boyfriend who I was with before I knew I was positive and who I met before I contracted it. He's so wonderfully supportive and amazing so I am very lucky in that regard. He is negative (thank god) and we use the necessary precautions. It wasn't even a question of whether or not he wanted to stay with me it was a question of how long I would live, if we could have children and how not to feel like my life is completely over. The upsetting part about this entire thing is that I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship when I got the disease. I was being crazy and not looking after my health. My whole objective in posting this was to see if anyone had any similar experience and what they did and how they recovered.
yeah I agree. If he knew and didn't disclose - that's illegal. You're in the situation you're in now and you can make the best of it. But if he knew - nahh fuck that noise. You need to go after him - you didn't need this burden. He shouldn't be allowed to do this to people.
HIV counselor here, the doc is right. Get an established HIV provider (lots of states have HIV clinics) and if you can't afford treatment don't worry! Ask to apply for your state's Ryan White Program. It is a federal program that provides HIV treatment and meds to those who can't afford it. The stigma is tough, but taking your meds can dramatically reduce your viral load, you can live a VERY healthy life, and ask your HIV provider for local support groups. Feel free to message me if you want, I have worked with many patients with HIV.
Why are you no longer friends? Did he know he had HIV?
That's such utter horseshit that you'd be considered an "asshole" for not wanting to be intimate or have a long term relationship with someone HIV positive.
I like a lot of Savage's stuff but that is pure retarded idiocy.
Am I a jerk for not wanting to fuck people with any other STDs either?
I wore my condoms and practiced the safest sex I could, I avoided a bunch of really risky opportunities, and I'm the asshole for not wanting to repeatedly fuck someone who has any serious STD?
There are people with HIV that are living a lot longer than people used to.
Your lifespan if controlled on antiretroviral drugs will be just as good as anyone's.
This isn't the same as getting a diagnosis in the 1980's. Not only that, but when you're on the right medication, and it's had time to work for a while, your HIV levels should hopefully eventually become undetectable, which means that so long as you keep taking the drugs, you won't even be contagious, and could even have children without worrying about passing it on to them. It's a long road, and I know it's scary now, but you are by no means alone. I've met many people just like you. A lot of women find out they are HIV positive through prenatal checks. It may be worth reaching out to a high risk pregnancy clinic and asking if they know of any support groups for people more like you in the area.
irregardless....there it is.
Also you don't know for sure that the drugs caused diabetes.
That is totally understandable, but it could also be something to share and support eachother in.
The "needles to say" left a lot of stuff open to me. There is stuff that I wanna understand about it.
I just wanted to tell you that you are 100% not alone. I am a straight female...diagnosed at 25 because I had what I thought was protected sex at the time with a guy. He was my best friend's gay friend...we were extremely drunk and he took advantage of my state to not wear the condoms we had. My best friend only said, make sure you wear a condom with this guy. He knew his friend was positive but no one ever told me. I found out when I gave blood a year later and the blood bank told me...
I've struggled with my diagnosis a lot over the last 8 years (33 now). I struggle with relationships a little because I'm single and trying not to be. But, the key thing I've discovered is to get a GOOD HIV doctor. Get someone you can trust. My HIV doc is my favorite doctor. She is honest and open with me all of the time. We are careful with my numbers and how to treat them. I'm proud to say that I'm currently undetectable and have been for over a year now. The chances of me passing the virus are so extremely slim I don't worry. Because that's the one thing I always worried about...giving it to someone else. Having someone else have to deal with what I've dealt with emotionally and psychologically the last 8 years.
Honey...I don't know you but I love you. I am reaching my arms to you to give you a hug to say I know how you feel. I was you. I love you.
Please find the best HIV doc you can and please ask them about a psychologist they recommend who can work with you through the grief and anger at what this diagnosis can do to your psyche. I know you feel alone. I feel alone too. But it isn't the end. It's just a new beginning.
Pm me if you want to talk.
Same thing happened to me. They advised me to eat a certain amount of carbs at every meal, and make sure I had a 30g carb snack every 3 hours. So I did that. Holy crap my numbers went through the roof. It wasn't until I asked around on Reddit that I realized that I'd gotten some bad info.
4) It's completely normal to be freaking out.
I just want to emphasize this point. I think it can probably be hard when you're freaking out and it maybe comes across as folks sometimes telling you "Hey, HIV isn't even a big deal these days! Don't worry about it!"
It's totally okay to be freaking out, OP. We would probably all do it too. Just try to be patient with yourself.
Regarding support resources for women, I'm finding a little bit but not a lot online.
womenhiv.org seems to have a decent list of IRL support in major US cities.
the poz forums have a women's forum, though browsing down the page a bit, it doesn't seem to be super active, unfortunately.
No exceptions. My dad didn't listen to his doctor and would always skip out on the pills. It caused his brain to slowly deteriorate. PLEASE consistently take your medicine for the HIV and you will live a fine and normal life. I really want to get it through that you HAVE to take them, and I'm so sorry this happened to you.
If it comforts - it never made it too much harder on my dad when it came to sexual partners having to know / their reaction, people are more sane about it than you might think and he scared about. He also really had no issues from the HIV when it was kept at bay from the medications. I have you in my thoughts and wish you well.
T1 is an autoimmune disease that can lay dormant, and can be triggered by life events, lifestyle changes, etc. It could be damn well that one autoimmune disease can have had an effect that caused the second. And the meds probably put a toll on their body enough to really hit them
Sue the Ada councillor is a nice lady.
I, fortunately, cannot weigh in on HIV, but I can weigh in on being a diabetic. I have had diabetes since long before the internet was a treasure trove of information (if you cared to look). I wanted to know, but all the information back then was based on Ancel Keys and his data-skewed food pyramid. Every medical professional, including diabetes experts and dieticians, all pushed a 'balanced' diet. The things that are wrong with me now I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. If only I had known about the Keto lifestyle 30 years ago, I would have lead a much healthier life. That all said, when life gives you lemons, right? I am enormously happy with my life in spite of the chronic issues that I have because I figure no one wants to be around Eeyore all the time, right?
My wife just had gestational diabetes and her diet counselor had her on a carb heavy diet.
I don't understand these doctors.
Most diet counsellors are not doctors.
Did your friend know he was positive?
Edit: I asked this because if he did not/does not know, then he should be told. That's all. I don't know OP or the friend's circumstances, I have no comment on their friendship ending.
There's a difference between reactions like "I respectfully decline because I worry that will put my health at risk" and "wtf you fucking slut, get away from me!" I would respectfully decline as well, key word bring respectful.
Sweets I'm sorry.
Life can deal some pretty heinous blows.
As a woman nearing 40 who royally fucked her life up in her 20s, some scars are emotional and some are physical. This one absolutely blows, no doubt, but do all you can to protect your emotional health from this physical issue. Start therapy. Now. You do not want to deal with the anger and issues alone.
I let my emotional scars become physical. I let a bad marriage early on nearly destroy my ability to love and trust. Now, not only have I pretty much ruined my chances at having a family, my health and career are gone too. I spent my 30s mourning and reaping the consequences of ONE bad decision. It became a series of bad decisions instead, and I kept drinking from the same poisoned well every day. Rebuilding now is HARD as fuck, much harder than it needed to be. I barely survived.
Please please please don't do the same thing. Start learning now to forgive yourself, forgive him, and accept where you go from here. This is a shitty break, but it doesn't need to define you. There was much more to you before this and there will be even more to you now. Maybe you're the start of a community that the world needs. At the end of the day, you're the only person who can take care of you, accept you, love you, and keep you safe. Go easy on you. You have a long life ahead of you to live, and you need to be nice to the one person who will always be there. Big hugs, from a kinda fucked up big sister.
Most endocrine doctors still spout this total bullshit. Low carbs is usually what is needed.
So I have HSV1, I got it from someone who didn't disclose that he had a recently healed cold sore on his lip. Back when I was dating, I would disclose to people that I had HSV1, some people were polite, some people didn't care, some people actually already had HSV1.... but there were some other people who called me horrible things like "whore", or said they hoped I would die, stuff like that. Even though I also told them I was on valtrex to minimize shedding/transmission. I'm just like.... "Yeah, you could easily get this too from someone who has a cold sore on their mouth that they don't tell you about, or are aware is a cold sore, and gives you a blow job..." no, no, they're invincible, nothing like that could ever happen to them apparently, they didn't even want to hear about possible scenarios that could cause them to get herpes. I don't blame anyone for not wanting to take a risk, if I were in their position I wouldn't either, but there isn't any reason to be an asshole about it and there are people out there who are like that.
This made me glad I'd tell people over text before anything sexual happened because sometimes I'd be thinking to myself, "shit, I would not want to be in the same room with that person." The fact that they were assholes before even being touched by me was what was scary.
I'm 96% sure there was a case a few years back where somebody was incarcerated because they were infecting others with HIV and showed no signs of stopping even when told they were putting others at risk. Also, for some crazy reason, I think there were infection parties in the gay community 10-15 years ago that people would voluntarily go to. Way to set back the causes, a-holes.
I understand what you mean. The only person I've been with since my diagnosis has been my wife. I met her a year after I was diagnosed. I didn't tell her right away. We dated a couple times and once I realized that she was the one for me, I told her. She reacted expectedly: upset, confused, worried about what others would think. But she didn't consider not seeing me anymore. It was just another facet of "me".
If I were dating now, I'd probably go on a date or two to see if we're compatible. There's a line between telling anyone "just in case" and only telling someone because they'll be at risk if they're not aware. I wouldn't want to tell every person I date that I'm positive. In a small town, my medical issues would quickly become common knowledge.
But yeah, I wouldn't wait until we're in bed and about to knock boots. That would definitely be too late!
T1 here too. Dx'd age 39. I care for many patients who are diagnosed after age 30. Had one a month ago dx at age 79!
Half of all t1 diagnoses are in adults. Which is why they do not call it juvenile diabetes anymore. Or insulin dependent diabetes.
My son and dad are also t1. Dad also diagnosed in adulthood, age 27.
Unfortunately, I was misdiagnosed for a long time. Had I listened to my primary, I would be dead today. He absolutely denied that you could get t1 in adulthood. I took myself to the ER in DKA. Ignorance regarding t1d abounds in the medical profession, and its sad. I have seen way too many kids die from being told "it's just the flu, wait it out". I never want to code another t1 child who was misdiagnosed and then died.
That being said, I know that many times it IS just the flu. But being that diabetes is incredibly easy to diagnose, a quick urine dipstick or fingerstick blood glucose could help catch those cases. No one should die nowadays from missing a t1d diagnosis.
My brother has HIV, although he is doing well now, I do not know which disease I would rather have. T1 is so difficult to manage, you have to balance so many variables and having to stick yourself every time you eat gets old. Food is not fun anymore. Plus, being a t1 means a lot of stigma, as well. I have had people come up to me and ask why I could eat a piece of cake if I am diabetic. I can eat anything I want. I just have to take insulin (although I normally eat quite low carb, paleo type diet). When people hear "diabetic" they usually think of type 2 Diabetes, which is equated with being lazy and fat. It shouldn't be, but it is.
I am so sorry you are dealing with this, OP. I hope you have an excellent doc and that you consider looking into therapy with a person who is experienced in HiV/AIDS and/or chronic health issues. Please do not discount the depression and other issues that can coincide with HIV. Dealing with any chronic illness is really hard.
Please take care of yourself. If you ever need anyone to talk to, feel free to DM me. I know just how hard this diagnosis can hit. I don't have HiV, but I saw my brother struggle, and I see patients struggle. And I have many health problems myself, so I can relate to the feelings of being overwhelmed and my world turning upside down.
I had gestational diabetes for just a few months and I have to say. It suuuuuuucked. Testing 4x a day was awful. I have so much respect for people who have to live with it and I hope they find a cure. I would not wish it on anyone. If I had to choose between having hiv or diabetes for the rest of my life, I'd be torn.
While female to male infections are uncommon, there is a pill called PrEP he could take that would make it nigh impossible for him to be infected. It might be worth talking to his doctor about, if you two are often sexually active.
Thank you. It's rough after diagnosis, but once things settle down, life becomes just like everyone else. My life is not much different from the ordinary, except I go to the doc and have blood tests done more often. That's all. Thank you for the kind words. I'm sorry about your loved one.
Yes! She is currently on PREP. It's a once daily pill that she takes that decreases risk of transmission. With me being undetectable, a condom, and her prep, the risk is basically zero.
Probably the most important precaution, though, is taking my meds every single day and making sure I'm undetectable. That way, even if a condom breaks or she's not on prep, the transmission risk is still very very low. Under 1%.
I'd say the vast majority of people do not know much about HIV and act accordingly.
I was warned once in life about a STD a potential partner had, right when we were about to do something. I can't really explain the emotions you go through... it's like a quick shift from 'this person is awesome, let's do it!' to 'omg here is a huge life decision/risk/etc and do I really want to continue down this road and and and and'....
... like, while I'm sure one could easily offend the other person, it's a very uncomfortable situation to be put in and I think there is a wide [and fair] variance for response due to the already intense situation being made even far more intense [in a very different way].
That's not a word
Thing is, you do still have to worry about catching it again. I used to volunteer at an HIV clinic, and even if you already had one strain, it was emphasized you could still become infected with a new strain. For example, say you have HIV subtype A. You have sex with someone carrying subtype B. You now potentially carry a subtype A, a subtype B, or a hybrid subtype AB now. These are referred to as CRFs, circulating recombinant forms. Then there is also HIV-1 vs HIV-2, with one being the more aggressive form. The fact is, HIV is a retrovirus and that is why it's such a tricky virus to control.
I think you've misunderstood. There are ways of politely turning someone down if you're justifiably uncomfortable without being an asshole about it.
I had HPV that either came from my ex not knowing he had it, or from a short fling. It took five years to go away and was terrifying when it kept causing abnormal cell growth (HPV typically is eliminated by the body in a year or two). So. Many. Biopsies and D&Cs. My ex was not supportive. He told me to get over it, I'd probably be fine. Ugh.
After that finally ended, I was in a bad place emotionally and had multiple partners (safely) and still managed to contact genital herpes and have syphilis antibodies come up in my bloodwork (doctor still hasn't figured that out).
Stigma sucks. No two ways about it. But you're not alone. There's plenty of supportive people here, even if we are faceless internet strangers. I've found so much support in communities here for my own basket case of crap I carry. We are here for you. You're not alone. And science is working on it. So chin up, friend. You're braver than you realize.
were type 1 and type 2 both taken into consideration for your study?
im really just curious because ive had t1 for 9 years now and im pretty certain im going to die sometime in the next 40 years from it. my nana and aunt have t2 and i think one or both of them will outlive me.
i suspect well managed t2 offers a longer life expectancy than well managed t1, but i have no basis for this conclusion beyond feeling absolutely bitter over it...
Oh my god I'm crying right now, I love you too. You will hear from me soon. For now I have to go to work. I just woke up to this post and it's gotten a lot of comments. Pretty overwhelming
My husband has been t1 since he was 9 years old. He is now 41. He knows how to manage it, and if you didn't know he was diabetic you'd never suspect it. I still have to bug him to go get his A1C done every once in a while, and to go see his endocrinologist, but with respect to checking blood sugars and giving insulin he's pretty damn good at keeping that on track.
(Except for the every once in a while before a meal when he pulls out his insulin- did I do this already? Fuck!?)
We've discussed him doing the experimental "cures" and stuff, but because he manages it so well we'd rather not screw with what's working right now.
"Having a purpose helps" man I love that. And when dealing with darkness it's profoundly true. A lot of comments here are (justifiably) med/hiv vs.diabetes related but sunset photos I think you just nailed it. This isn't a death sentence. And as a straight woman, if I ever contracted it I'd be lucky to have someone like OP out there who created the community merely because there wasn't one yet.
12, here. Shits rough as a kid. Apparently T1s are being diagnosed up to age 30 now. Makes me wonder what changed to shift from juvenile diabetes to all ages.
Would love to read it!!
Don't have HIV, but maybe check out this site? They have a long list of local/regional support groups in the US.
This comment may end up buried, but I hope OP has a chance to read it. Using a throwaway because we're very careful of who we tell, and I don't have the time to go through my main acct's post history to determine how identifiable I am.
I'm a neg guy in his 40s, who met an amazing woman in her 40s, a bit over a year ago. To say we hit it off from the start would be a huge understatement. We just worked. All of it, worked.
Mere months after meeting, she heard from her ex that he was positive as the result of an affair he had while they were together and that she should be tested. She told me right away, and I will tell you that at the time I didn't think I could have heard worse news. Scared for myself, scared for her. However, I would have been wrong. A few hours later when the results of the initial test came back positive, I was crushed.
She tried to push me away, told me that there was no way she could ask me to take all of that on so early in our relationship. I was naive, my own knowledge of HIV being stuck in the 80s somewhere. But I knew I wasn't ready to say goodbye.
So much on my mind. I needed to be tested. She needed the results of the next test to confirm (although we both knew that a false positive at that point was exceedingly unlikely). She was in an utter panic, as was I. But we continued to talk, and I started to read. And read. And when I was done, I read more. Medical studies, forums, articles, anything I could get my hands on.
Two days later, we were still talking non stop when she got her results back. Positive, as we feared. Numbers astoundingly good, but positive none the less. She begged me to say goodbye, not for her but for me. I still refused. To this day I can't tell you why other than "I couldn't". I simply couldn't. Here was this woman that I had already fallen for (more than I could have admitted at the time) who was going through something truly life altering, and somehow found a place to be concerned for me. It was stunning and only made me fall harder.
You know what? We've talked about those few days a lot in the past year or so and the truth is that it brought us together, made us stronger. What initially (to me, anyhow) was a soul crushing blow turned out to be more than a blessing in disguise. It brought us closer, taught us both a lesson in what's truly important in life.
A year later, we're both (I can speak for myself, I can only echo her words) having the best sex of our lives. By far. Extremely far. She's been undetectable since 2-3 weeks after starting meds, and aside from her taking a few minutes twice a day to take her meds, it's rarely something we even think about unless we're reminiscing.
It doesn't define her, but it's part of her. It's part of US. I truly don't think we'd be the couple we are today if we didn't have that to bring us together.
We (all of us) are a product of our experiences and our past. I know it's shockingly hard to see it now, but there will be a day in your future where you will look back and see this as little more than a milestone in your life. It won't be one you forget, it may not be one you can look back on fondly. But live your life, live the life you WANT to live. One day you'll realize "hey I'm happy" and when you look back you'll know that this is one of the experiences that got you there.
Us? We're not looking to have kids (between the two of us, we've got a Brady Bunch going already). But we're moving in together, planning a wedding, and having more (and BY FAR better) sex than we had when we were in our 20s. I'm still negative, she's (obviously) still positive.
I can not imagine my life without her. I can't imagine my life with anyone else. This has been just one of those challenges that a couple goes through together. We still look at each other the way we did when we first met. We can look at each other and have hours go by without realizing it.
We work. All of it, works.
EDIT - OP: please feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Whether they are from my perspective (happy to answer) or from hers (happy to ask and relay answers). Hell feel free to PM me if you just need to chat with someone who understands where you are.
It was a drunken night and he may not know he has HIV. Even if you do not wish to be friends, I hope you could give him a good closure. Considering the context. Having a breakup then losing a best friend right after must have been very hard on him too. Especially if he does not even know the reason why you ended the friendship or stopped talking to him.
Saying from a personal experience of a best friend ghosting & eventually blocking me when I reached out on facebook. I'm not told the reason but from my own investigation it seems like my best friend few months SO initated a breakup citing our closeness as a reason. Still I rather hear it from my best friend directly to confirm it. I still wonder if people will be back. I'm still waiting & hoping honestly...
You can almost take out the 'relatively' these days. Incredible how far we have come from such utter hopelessness.
The risk of you passing it is also incredibly low while your scores are showing the virus as undetectable. I cannot even begin to know what you are going through, but the attitude of the general public is becoming far more "understanding" (for want of a better word) than ever before. Read up, take your meds and hold your head up high. If you ever need to talk to a random stranger because it is too hard to talk to people you know I genuinely implore you to message me.
Most diet councillors aren't even registered dieticians. Please remember that anyone can call them selves a "nutritionist". Only qualified medical professionals can be Called a Dietician
In which case, she's being hypocritical.
Not him, but also a diabetic (the T1 autoimmune kind). Strict keto is not necessary, but without at least low carb you become walking death.
Haha tell me about it. I gotta laugh though when I think of how the craziest shit always happens to me. People make jokes about hiv/aids as if it doesn't exist or it's just a gay guy thing. It's real and especially for my generation who thinks condoms are only for pregnancy. Be careful guys!
Does your friend know he's HIV positive? If not, he needs to know. If he knows, it's a crime in some states to knowingly transmit HIV.
No side effects??? What about the goddamn diabetes?
yeah, it hit me out of the blue when I was 14 so yeah
I thought of this too. It's not as if he did it on purpose, as far as I can tell.
But then again, the stigma surrounding HIV is so strong, it might be hard for OP to maintain the friendship even if it was a totally accident.
May I ask how you decided to go get tested? Did he tell you afterwards he was HIV positive or what lead to you getting tested?
It's called bugchasing. I don't understand why anyone would do that to themselves.
Grandpa had t1 since 15, now mid 80s, always kept himself healthy
If he was unaware, she treated him the way she's afraid of being treated.
It might be harsh, but realistically speaking its also probably really hard to look at your friend after that, without being exceptionally upset/angry at them, regardless of what we, from a distance, might think logic would dictate.
The situation might also be different down the road, given more time.
That's such utter horseshit that you'd be considered an "asshole" for not wanting to be intimate or have a long term relationship with someone HIV positive.
Who even said that? It's about how you react to being informed, not whether you sleep with them or not.
This. This right here.
If you don't wanna screw, don't screw, but don't say shit either.
Yup. They both got drunk and both decided not to use protection. Unless he knew he was positive and she didn't (which she doesn't indicate), cutting off her best friend after a bad breakup is beyond callous.
I feel this is the most helpful and supportive comment in this thread.
Thanks so much. I'm in treatment but I live in a small town and I don't like the counselor they provided me with. She makes me even more depressed, is there any counselors you know of that work in the us?
I'm really sorry - I hope that you can find other straight women to talk to - this can happen to anyone. Do you live in a big city? Maybe the place where you got tested can give you info about groups.
I hope that straight people like me don't mistakenly think that we don't need to use protection just because our partner is also straight. You didn't get HIV because you had sex with a gay person; you got HIV because you had sex with someone who had HIV.
That all seems intuitive. Just chiming in to provide a teeny counter-voice to the whole "HIV is so not a big deal anymore!"
If it really works that way, where resistant strains can be passed on, then eventually the dominant strains will be the resistant strains and we'll be right back where we were before these highly effective treatments were available.
We could potentially be in a the eye of the storm if everyone adopts an "It's not that big of a deal anymore!" attitude. I totally get that positive people must be comforted and should not overly react to the bad news, especially if they don't have a resistant strain. I just think we're going a bit far in the other direction, especially with health insurance in the US in such flux. Someone who was covered maybe won't be covered and then will be covered again. Just my thoughts.
Wow, If I had HIV, this is exactly what id want to hear. Im happy that treatment has improved for people.
That is terrible, but medicine is available which will keep you well for a long time.
Did this person knowingly give you HIV? Then you have to start criminal proceedings against them. They could do this again to other unsuspecting people.
Irregardless is not a word, but more importantly I think it really does make a difference whether he knew or not. If they're close friends and he had no idea, they could be supporting each other right now in dealing with this. If my best friend accidentally gave me a disease, I would be on the phone with them so fast - "hey you're the last person I slept with and I just found out I have this. Please go get tested asap!"
So I'm assuming he knew he had it but was being a self centered idiot when he gave it to her - in which case I would totally get cutting him out of her life completely.
Sounds like he's not on a pump. I have had t1 since I was 12. I've done different types of insulins, with both syringes and then pens. Nothing has changed my life so drastically as when I got an insulin pump. There are no longer ever any "did I already do this" moments because the pump knows. The pump tracks it all for you and you just tell it what you eat. Suspend and disconnect for any sort of activity. Some pumps even sync automatically with your glucometer readings. You can set reminders, adjust delivery rates based on time of day, and much much more. I cannot recommend it more. Best of luck!
Am I a jerk for not wanting to fuck people with any other STDs either?
No. By asshole detector Dan Savage means HOW they respond, not WHAT they respond.
If they treat you like shit for having and STI and disclosing upfront about it they are an asshole. If they treat you with respect and thank you for giving them the chance to make their own educated decision about what risks they are willing to take then they are not an asshole.
as a gay man with plenty of friends who are HIV positive, it struck me as pretty strange that OP cut her friend out of her life (assuming he didn't know he was HIV positive).
sounds like it was consensual sex -- would she get pissed off at someone if someone got her pregnant even though she didn't use protection?*
regardless, if the guy didn't know, I can assure you he feels as bad if not worse than OP. not only is he having to deal with finding out he has HIV, he unknowingly infected (and consequently lost) one of his friends.I recognize HIV and pregnancy are not entirely equivalent, but as far as "life changing events that happen based on one night of sexual activity," they share some definite similarities
Hmmm. It's hard to say what his situation really is. It depends on several factors. If he hasn't taken any meds for his hiv yet and is just letting it run rampant, then there is a lower chance that it'd be resistant to meds yet.
If, however, he's taken several different meds with bad adherence, then yes, I'd say there's a higher chance that the hiv transmitted would be resistant to a certain type of medication.
Resistance to medications happens when a certain med is taken the wrong way. If I'd take my meds every other day, or skip a day on a regular basis, then resistance to that particular medication would probably occur. By taking my meds every single day, that lowers the chance of it mutating.
Her hypocrisy coming here to cry about stigmas she enacted on her own "best friend" is strong.
Same as /u/kryprkpr, I'm T1 and was diagnosed about a year ago (I'm 37).
You still need to eat carbs, just low carb. Luckily there are a lot of low carb options for things.
I'm actually having a low right now, so I'm stuffing some Starburst in my face hole.
Medical Assistant here. Used to work at an Infectious Disease Specialist office in which we saw quite a few HIV+ patients and managed their treatment. (my doctors did not do this type of thing btw)
This reminded me of a guy we had that came in as a new patient. He'd had HIV for 10+ years, but told me he hadn't been on any meds for the last 1-2 years. When I asked why, he said it was because his last doctor told him he'd been undetectable for long enough that he could stop taking his meds. Basically she told him he was cured, and I had to explain to this man how HIS OWN disease works...
Shame on that doctor for treating a disease that she obviously has no business treating, but shame on that man for not understanding his own disease and blindly accepting what that idiot doctor told him.
Yeah, I saw some documentary on this. The logic is: since HIV is (or was) very prevalent in the community, it was viewed as almost an inevitability. People who went these parties treated it almost like a coming of age.
Yeah, I know what you mean. One thing that blows me away is how flippant doctors are with prescribing medications. The only other hiv pos person I know irl has a doctor who seems to change his meds every six months to a year. His meds work fine, his numbers are great, but when a new medication hits the market, his doctor changes him to the new one. I'm not sure if money plays a factor, or not. His doc may be getting money for every script he writes of a certain med, I'm not sure. It seems that way, though. The problem with this is that it my friend takes, say, Complera, for a year and then his doc changes to something else. The new one may have one or two of the meds that are in complera. Most are combination tablets. If something happens and he becomes resistant to his new med, he can never go back to Complera because of that! It's a shame, because his medications should've never been messed with in the first place.
This is one area of hiv treatment that needs worked on. I've always held my ground with my doc about staying on the same medications as long as possible. Even though there are a lot of different medications, and new ones seem to come out on a regular basis, the potential is still there to run through them all and not have a 100% effective treatment plan.
It's confusing, I hope I explained it alright.
That is so ridiculously bad I'm so sorry for that. Wow.
And here I was just browsing Reddit new for a laugh :/
Seriously holy shit i hope you stay strong here.
This is a very key question. If not, breaking up the friendship seems possibly pretty harsh...
Obviously there may be more to the story we don't know, but her life is absolutely not ruined.
I am so sorry to hear this but may I offer some suggestions? From a UK perspective the Terrence Higgins Trust (named after a gay man who died of AIDS complications soon after the virus was first identified) campaigns for AIDS sufferers from all parts of society and also haemophilia groups provide support and education because of contaminated blood use in the past. I'm sure that similar groups exist in America and from my (professional) contact with them they are all inclusive and would be able to give you help and advice.
This absolutely isn't the end of the world, I promise. Modern treatment for HIV means you'll be able to live as long as your HIV negative peers in many cases, so it's definitely not a death sentence.
My advice to you in the immediate is this: get on ART. If you have health insurance, that means heading to your Doctor, who will likely send you to a virologist in a nearby hospital for treatment. If you're in a major city, there should be a cheap or free clinic (usually geared toward the LGBTQ community) that will help you get on the path toward treatment instead.
You really shouldn't ever have a problem affording medication, either. There's a slew of programs in the US dedicated to making sure all HIV persons get the meds they need, under the "treatment as prevention" doctrine.
So with meds in hand and doctors swarming over your health..."what now" is the question that tends to be asked a lot, and there's no easy answer. On the one hand, yes, this is a life changing diagnosis, and it can't be cured right now. That sucks beyond belief. What we ended up doing was small steps: setting up a good accountability system to have others make sure we took our meds every single day. Then it was the countdown to the big "undetectable" milestone. After that, it was resuming sex, getting SO's on PReP, and generally getting back to normal. As long as you're taking your meds as prescribed, then I think that's the biggest challenge of being positive: getting back to normalcy. It can be done, and eventually it will fade into the background for the most part (or at least it did for us).
You'll be fine, OP, and things will return to normal eventually. The first few months will be hard, but you'll come through it stronger than ever.
I can answer this question!
Those who are discordant in their relationship have several things they can do for keeping the negative partner from getting HIV.
If the positive partner is consistently taking their drugs and going to the doctor, and their HIV is undetectable, they pose little to no risk at passing HIV to their partner. In the gay world, some say it's safer to have sex with someone who is definitely undetectable but positive than someone random who doesn't know their current HIV status. Seems obvious, but really puts into light the stigma of HIV.
The negative partner can also take PrEP, or pre exposure prophylaxis, which is basically two out of three of the HIV meds. This prevents them from getting HIV, even when exposed. It's becoming more common in the LGBT community.
As always, there are also condoms.
Hope this answer helped!
So you do KETO now and have improved your quality of life?
To add to /u/cmillhouse excellent post: not sure where OP is although I imagine this holds true for most of the western world now: the life expectancy for someone with HIV aged 20 today in the UK is virtually the same as someone without HIV, and that's assuming we don't have a break though soon that will come up with a cure.
You don't have to finish the date. If HIV positive partner is a deal breaker then you can leave right away. "I am sorry I don't think I can see this working out between us" is a fine way to say it.
And the people who are waiting for the last moment to disclose are kinda dicks. Disclosing when people are supper horny is not a good thing to do. It's better to disclose when both people aren't supper horny.
As long as you take your insulin regularly and exercise regularly you're good to go.
It's not the fact that you wouldn't want to that determines if you're an asshole, it's how you react to the news that your partner is positive.
Do you flip out and kick them to the curb? Asshole
Do you politely express your concerns over the risks? Not asshole
I've been living with diabetes since I was six years old and watched my dad suffer through so fucking much because of it (we were both type ones). Lost both his legs very slowly, heart attack after heart attack, neuropathy was horrible for him. In the end it was actually cancer that killed him at a fairly young age but I feel like he could've survived it if diabetes had beaten him down so bad already. :(
Fortunately for me (so far) I haven't had any complications besides my eyesight going downhill a little. I've been trying to take care of myself so my kids don't have to watch me go through all that shit.
Out of curiosity what precautions do you need to keep your wife from contracting? Condoms obviously, but those fail from time to time. Is there medication that she can take to make her less receptive or something like that?
well would you rather have a condition that has a chance of resulting in a worse condition or just jump straight to the worse one?
I came here to say a lot of the same stuff! In medical school we've learned a lot about the advances of HAART and it's pretty amazing how far the therapy has come. OP, while it will have some impact on your life there have been a lot of advances. People who are on their meds also have a very low rate of transmitting the virus to another person, so there is still hope when you meet someone new if they are understanding.
As someone with Type 1, I wish we could get away with only testing 4x daily. For most T1s, it's more like 10x daily or you upgrade to a CGM.