Hello Everyone - my 1st post ;-)

Hello All.

Where do I start....?

First things first, I suppose. I was diagnosed as having HIV in October, 1985 at the tender age of 17.  Yes, I have just had my 30th anniversary!  I was one of the unlucky ones that told of their illness when it was all bright, shiny and new...oh and before any medication. During those 1st years of the late eighties many of my friends died. Some horribly. Some without any contact from their own families, who had cast them aside. Some committed suicide, the shame of having HIV , being HIV too much to bear.  10 people that had helped me on my journey to become the person I wanted to be, died in front of me - IT WAS A HARD SPELL IN MY LIFE. In all, up to about 1992 I lost 32 friends and close acquaintances.

I always decided that I would not let it define who I am. Don't get me wrong, there have been some dark days along the way. There has been illness, depression, suicide attempts over the years but nothing that I haven't been able to overcome.  Some things have taken longer than others but I am still here. Still healthy. And outlived my early expectations by many many years.

Do I have a secret? No not really. What I will say is that I haven't let it be the driver of my life. An irrelevance that I can't can't do anything about. It only raises its head when I've been looking for a partner, going on holidays, filling in medical forms etc.  I would just say to you - live your life. Keep safe and keep your partners safer!  I always promised myself that it would not get passed on from me - all my partners have been negative and remained so. There seems to be a notion amongst some that having risky sex is ok with the advent of medication - all I say is think again. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life taking pills for 10 minutes of fun? We are now in the realm of having lots of treatment options available that doesn't give you the right to start playing Russian Roulette with your life and that of others.

If any of you want to get in touch, please drop me a line. I'm more than happy to pass on my experiences on many subjects - if I can help I'm more than happy to.

Well, that's a little about me for now...

KEEP HAPPY - STAY SAFE!

16 Replies

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  • Such an amazing story..

    Hi! I was diagnosed last December 2015 at the age of 25 . I still don't know how to cope this kind of virus. I'm afraid to die. 

    As of now, I'm still taking the meds. And I dont know when my life ends.

    Hope you can enlighten me by giving advices.

    Thank you

  • Hey buddy its not the end of your life you can still live many years past 70 so dont get yourself down. I am have been pos 10 weeks. Still dont even know if I will lose my job! Dont even know how I will pay a mortgage and support my family. But I have faith 

  • I hope I can be strong like you. I am in the British Army and finding out in the next couple of weeks if I can continue with my service. Got 9 years left only to retirement. It would really deppress me if I lost it all now. 

  • Alright fella! Don't get me wrong, there have been many many low spells. If there has been a 'secret' through it all this far, is just to get on with your life! Don't make it who you are. There are problems, be that medication, relationships, feeling alone, getting a cold and thinking you're dying...but they are surmountable.  

    It's early days and you are in a far better situation than I could ever have dreamed of. There are wonderful drugs available now. I didn't have that option until many years after my diagnosis. And even then AZT, as remarkable as it was, is nothing compared to the new and upcoming drugs we all get prescribed and luckily FREE. 

    As far as I'm aware, the Army is quite good when it comes to a positive diagnosis. It would depend on your duties/job. It won't ordinarily be a bar to you seeing out your final years. There is always the possibility of a medical discharge I suppose, but hopefully it won't come to that. I'll check with a mate who is a Major in the Medical Corps. She's full of info! 

    Keep your chin up. If you need a chat you know where I am now. Here to chat, help, scream or shout at and be a friend who's been there wearing the old tattered, but well loved tshirt.

    Ian 

  • Thanks, Its great to see people like you on here! For me you guys are true warriors. I think if I can continue my job that would really help like that I could focus on something. I have read there are a few people in the british army with hiv still serving so that gives me hope! I will fight this

    Thanks,  

    Mike

  • Pleasure. And thanks. I still need a good word too every now and again. 30 years is a long time. But I do sincerely intend to be here for 30 more! Think of it this way...you know you're pos. To me it's an incentive a) to prove to the buggers that you can lead a normal productive and b) I promised my mum that I would never let it get the better of me. If anything it has made me stay healthy, ha ha.

  • Totaly amazing. I just have little problems now have a white tongue and dry skin mainly in my hands also my palms have a strange thing going on like red/white patches  and have morning sickness also really lose stool in the mornings. Ah and muscle pain in my legs and when I go running my stomach really hurts is this normal in hiv remeber only had it for 10 weeks could still be serconverting hope to start meds soon 

  • Mike, Mike, Mike. Please stop worrying.Dont let your mind start running away from you. To me it sounds like your a little run down perhaps and understandably stressed by the news and picking up on 'everything' that is wrong or even slightly wrong. I'm sat here at the mo with a big box of tissues, full of cold. I'm not panicking thinking it's going to turn into pneumonia! It's a cold - no more no less.  Would you have worried before your diagnosis? Or just said that you're a little under the weather. One thing I have learnt and always tell others - if it's something 'new' that's never happened before see your doc. If it's a recurrent issue, just treat it as you did before. We still get ordinary run of the mill health problems! And they do go away!

    Ian

  • Sorry its just I have never had syphtoms like this before!! Just wanted to know if its hiv doing that to my body 

  • It could be. But also just as likely to be the stress you are going through. It's a lot to take in. There are all the questions you have - it's all a mentally and physically challenging thing to find out. You're worried about the future. There is nothing to suggest that what you are experiencing wouldn't have happened anyway. A white tongue could be thrush, if you're excercising more strenuously whilst taking thinking time you'll feel tired. Please don't fret. Personally I did feel drained a lot to start with but it went away.

    If you are having medical problems your 1st port should always be your consultant! i wouldn't want to give you the wrong info :-) It's always best to have a good relationship with whoever looks after you and to build that up over time. My doc is also a friend now that I can discuss any problems, I am also in touch with my ex consultant.

    Ian

  • I have been negative for a long time and just yesterday I sent my quarterly blood sample however, my sexual activities is so risky I am unsure if I can keep my negative strands for long. 

    I am not a chaser but having sex with condom seem so detached to me and I barely have sex because when I do, I did like to go bareback. I have researched buying PreP from the states but it doesn't seem easy. I'm wondering if there are other negative guys that uses PreP in the UK. If so, how did they manage it? 

  • TyBe good luck with your results! Do however, reconsider your preference in condomless sex. Apart of HIV there are a few more sexually transmitted diseases you might catch and that you'll have to deal with (do a syphilis test every now and then please - very treatable but leathal if left for time).

    I remember I felt bad when I couldn't have sex for 3 weeks due to gonorrhea sometime ago; things will happen sooner or later if you don't use condom and, that's a fact! 

    You've had a good share of bareback pleasure in your life, all you need now is someone to wake you up and pull you out of this state of mind, because that's what it is really...

  • Hi Man. Thanks for taking the time and share you story and your relative experiance with us. 

    I think we all had the shock when we were told about the result. Being gay and having unprotected sex with gay men is a clear indication that we most likely will get the virus which unfortunately we can't undo what happened and we must deal with it

    It's very sad to hear about your friends' passing. 

    What I found difficult is the thought of committing suicid and not knowing the future. 

    I can't deny the fact that lucky that UK/ Ireland offer the medications for free n there is constant support. 

    I would love to meet with people with the same situation n talk n spend sometime with but since I was diagnosed back in June 15 I am unable to disclose my case with anyone ( no friends, impossible family , no one at work ...etc)

    Despite the fact I lost more than 35 kg between (Jan - early June 15) look completely different, darker, no energy like before.  Maybe it's me over thinking

    We sometimes are worriers 

    Thanks again 

  • 85 is when I found out I was positive, I understand your losses, in 96' I counted the names in my address book which were erased, way too many friends lost the battle. Like you when I found out I promised myself that I would never pass it on to another person. It was hard to deal with as a 24 year old can't even imagine dealing with it at 17. Your a very strong person with a great positive attitude!

  • Thanks Jim! It's nice to meet someone also heading into our 4th decade! (Fanfare/Banners/Applause)

    It's been a roller coaster but not one that has differed from a 'normal' life. I have been remarkably healthy all told this far, it's only now that I'm starting to get the occasional middle age niggle lol but on the whole it been ok. I know I am lucky. I would be the first to admit that and do have occasional bouts of guilt when I hear of others more recently that have died and have been 'diagnosed' (I use that advisedly) for a relatively short time - but I didn't choose this strain and considering it was 1985, when our nearest and dearest were dying weekly...we are so very lucky.

    If you ever want a chat, you know wher I am now and it would be nice to share the past 30 years. I am also planning a book that you may be interested in contributing to - about us 'long termers', but I would prefer to talk about that privately ;-)

    Ian

  • 10 minutes? Other than that thank you for sharing. I can relate to your journey in that I was 17 when the first news of GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency or something like that) came to the fore but I really can only imagine entering adulthood with that kind of challenge. I am struggling with the challenge of finding myself living well beyond my life expectancy and believing that a long term and difficult to diagnose illness was ushering me out. Well here I am with probably another forty years to live and having never considered the what, much less the how to, of doing all that living. Any advice you might have would be much appreciated!  

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