my life with hiv

Hi, I am POZboySG, and I am HIV positive. If you must know, I am seropositive and I have done my part informing you.

If you really like me and you are serodiscordant, I would need you to be on HIV PrEP.

I believe in being honest about our health status because in the past, someone was not being honest with his. He infected me with HIV.

I promised myself, like a Nazirite offering his olah & korbanot to YHWH, that I will not do what that person did to me. HIV shall die with me. And it shall. This is my Nazar.

Thank you for reading. I am back on Tumblr.

javiermofficial: #nationalhivtestingday Learning my status did not stop me. It took time but I found my resilience. Knowing your status is an action of self-love and self-worth. And for every ignorant person who still thinks HIV is a death sentence there are thousands more who will lift you up and love you. #knowyourtruth #liveyourtruth 


hellomr: “I decided in 2005, three years after being diagnosed with HIV, and absolutely sickened by the hypocrisy that I was seeing in the gay community regarding HIV, that I was going to live my life completely open, and own every aspect of who I was, and no one was going to be able to hold anything over me to make me feel small or bad” — @javiermofficial for #hellomr. It’s National HIV Testing day, so take 20 minutes today to know your status. Find a testing center at the link in our bio. ❤️

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I have a sick sense of humor , which is why I’m loving being 50 years old and survived having an AIDS diagnosis 21 years ago.

With that being said, I mentor many LGBT and straight youth and young people. Gay youth see me in many ways- father, mother, uncle, aunt, abuelita and so on.

As long as they see me as safe, I’m good.

Today, the rascal in the pics texted me asking what am I up to. I texted back “I gotta pic up my HIV meds” He asked if he could walk with me. I said yes.

After we got my meds I suggested we get something to eat. Cheesecake Factory it is! Good food and Sangria!

Next, we both felt like fat asses so we decide to walk all through Jersey City to burn our calories- shopping and walking, looking and walking, and walking and walking. Found a bookstore too. I bought “Grace” which is a fictional book about an enslaved woman who escapes a sadistic master and ends up in New Orleans at a brothel. Read the reviews , so I had to get it!

The rascal marveled at the vintage pics in the book “Gay Gotham ” and was amazed that I knew some of the people in the vintage pics.

At the end of the day he and I walked a total of 4 hours - no bus and no train. We talked about HIV and how because of me and other HIV poz “family” he’s been able to use better judgement- not perfect, but better-remaining HIV negative.

We also talked about the loss of my friends from the AIDS virus, my history of taking medications from 30 pills a day to now 3 a day.

We also discussed dating, relationships, being accountable for ones decisions and understanding why and how some poz people refuse medical treatment or disclose their status to sex partners, my life as an HIV advocate and practicing social work for 25 years.

He wanted to know my “skin regime” - Witch Hazel and Oil of Olay, which helped me years ago deal with the side effects of having AIDS and the toxic medications.

We talked about growing older and loving ones self, learning from mistakes, BLACK history, college, he being in his 20s and me being 50 and the divide between both generations in the LGBT/ same gender loving/queer community and so much more!

It was a great day with my baby boy who calls me “Grams”

anonymous asked:

Please enlighten me! Were they realised officially? I feel like I would have heard them if they were. Wow talking to you is showing me that I really didn't know as much about rent as I thought I did, hehe (but its great dw) :P

WOW I WROTE SUPER A LOT, SO UNDER THE CUT IS LINKS TO THE SONGS ON YOUTUBE, AND A LONG RAMBLE ABOUT THE RENT DEMO AND RENT NYTW, AND DIFFERENCES IN PLOT AND SONGS, AND LOTS AND LOTS OF QUOTES.

The stuff under the cut is not in capslock though, sorry about that, I get excitable about Rent. It’s a thing.

[Trigger warnings for mentions of: drug use/overdose, suicide, misogynistic and homophobic slurs, abuse, HIV…]

Keep reading

Photo by Delphine Goux/MSF

“My baby needs me to take HIV drugs everyday but I cannot walk 5 hours every month to get them”

Name: Ana Maria Manuel
Location: Mozambique

An HIV-positive pregnant or breastfeeding woman who is not on antiretroviral treatment has one out of three chance of transmitting the virus to her baby. In 2013, 240,000 children were infected through their mothers. When women like Ana, above, are on effective ARV treatment, the risk of transmitting the virus to babies is reduced to less than four percent. “I started treatment in 2005 thanks to my counselor who really encouraged me to be on ARVs,” says Ana. “I know it’s very important because I have three children. Because I am very serious about my treatment, they are thankfully all HIV-negative. But it’s hard to be good and adhere to treatment when the clinic is so far away.” On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, MSF is calling for health providers to adapt treatment to realities of patients’ lives: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/world-aids-day-portraits-my-life-my-hands

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All in the Family: @gideonmendel, @elimendel and @mikhael_subotzky Are Triple Threat Photographers

To see these three photographers in action, follow @gideonmendel, @elimendel and @mikhael_subotzky on Instagram.

Gideon Mendel (@gideonmendel) remembers his son Eli (@elimendel) picking up a point-and-shoot camera when he was just six years old.

“He took really interesting pictures. Quite cool pictures,” the London-based photographer and activist says of his now 17-year-old son. “Mikhael (@mikhael_subotzky) is a natural photographer as well. He’s done amazing work. I’m not sure what the genetic component of photographic skill is, but my mother’s mother was actually a quite interesting photographer.”

The triple threat of Gideon, Eli and Gideon’s nephew Mikhael Subotzky, is strong evidence for there being such a thing as a “creative gene.” All three storytellers seem to have inherited a strong interest in incorporating social and political activism into their art. Gideon is a photographer who’s documented HIV/AIDS for 18 years and explored climate change for nine in his Drowning World series. Mikhael, who lives in Johannesburg, is a photographer and filmmaker whose work has studied the South African penal system and the history of apartheid. Eli is still a teenager, but he eschews selfies in favor of his own quiet brand of social consciousness, such as photos of a student protest.

“Understanding the world is easier now. All my friends are politically active. Through social media, people are a lot more eager to understand the world,” Eli says. Still, he had a head start. “My dad’s work around apartheid and HIV has a huge influence on my life. I’ve grown up knowing about these huge issues and it’s really affected me.”

Both Eli and Mikhael say Gideon is their toughest critic, but Gideon’s commentary comes from a place not only of love, but also of admiration. When Mikhael was 18, he took advantage of a post-graduation “gap year,” moved to London and picked up odd jobs to save money for travel. Purchasing a camera to document his trip, he snapped photos to test it out and showed Gideon.

“I sort of unleashed this monster on the world. I told him, ‘These aren’t bad. You should think about becoming a photographer,’” Gideon says. (“And that was probably the nicest thing he ever said about my work,” Mikhael says, laughing.)

But, Gideon continues, “In many ways, he has outstripped me as a photographer. He positioned himself in the art world. I’m blown away and so proud of what he’s doing. It’s been interesting — he learned a lot from me and I think he was quite inspired by me, but it’s almost gone the other way. I’ve learned a huge amount about the art world from him.”

And if you think the criticism doesn’t work both ways, rest assured that it does. “Eli’s incredibly scathing about my work,” Gideon says before chuckling.

even as an hiv+ person i fall into the trap of overstating risk. it’s so difficult not to when sex involving hiv+ people is considered inherently unsafe, when it is still radical to suggest that safe sex does not necessarily need to involve a condom, when it is still radical to suggest that hiv+ people should not be prosecuted for consensual sex.

every time i get asked about transmission risk of certain situations i feel pressure to include a disclaimer that it is theoretically possible in some scientific theory or theoretically possible in some outdated medical journals, even if no cases have ever been confirmed. risk is arbitrary and impossibly to measure concretely but hiv+ people are considered inherently risky in a way that i don’t think hiv- people can truly understand. our sex lives are always political because we can still be prosecuted or assaulted or killed for making consensual and informed choices with our partners. i hate that this pressure exists, the pressure to include a footnote that “well,, there is always some risk” even when there is by all definitions absolutely none. i hate that i have to either succumb to overstating risk or accept being labeled one of those evil hiv+ people, the ones who deserve to die, because only the good, pure, approachable ones deserve anything different. i hate that this dichotomy even exists.

i would be lying if i said it wasn’t a daily battle to believe that there is nothing inherently wrong or dirty or disgusting about me or my blood or my past profession or my marriage or my sex life or my existence. i’m rooting for all hiv+ people so much - i make dua for all of you every single day - because this weight is truly a lot to shoulder. in the end we are stronger but it’s okay to acknowledge how much stands against us.

honestly the older i get and the more i get involved in serious activism and political work the more alarmed i feel about the way lgbt activism has been hijacked by cishet people because the fact remains that basically no one fights for lgbt people other than lgbt people. in this war, the only people in these trenches are us. this is especially true around sex-related activism, like access to PrEP and trying to get proper sex education in schools and the like, because no one wants to be associated with what the dirty homos do, and even trying to have a basic conversation about it with most cishet people is, in my experience, virtually impossible. 

and the very last thing we need are people who face absolutely no oppression in this arena at all hijacking this and demanding that we make it all about them, and to add insult to injury managing to add into the mix the dirty homo shit all over again. in london, the city i expect to live in from next year and probably most of the rest of my life, 15% of the gay male population is HIV+, and that’s predicted to go up incredibly rapidly over the next five years. to quote vito russo on this, what we don’t have is time. we don’t have time to pacify a bunch of cishets who want to make it all about them, we don’t have time to try and shove these people out of the door on a virtually constant basis, and we don’t have time to play fucking nice. if you don’t face homophobia and/or transphobia then frankly you need to sit down and shut the fuck up, because we’re fighting a war that we won’t win in my lifetime and we’ve spent our whole lives being told that we have to be nice to the cishets or they’ll be horrific to us, and i for one think that youse can fuck off on this particular issue. we are not a community, we are a population. either you’re lgbt or you’re not. end of. 

My current HIV medication regimen. (the WTF on the pillbox was intentional, LOL)

The orange tablets are Kaletra (Lopinavir & Ritonavir) and they cost SGD $444. I eat two at 9am, two at 9pm.

The blue tear-shaped tablets are Tenofovir and they cost SGD $275. I eat this once every morning.

The box contains Combivir tablets (Lamivudine & Zidovudine) and they cost SGD $166. I eat this once at 9am, once at 9pm.

I am also still recovering from severe depression – although my psychiatrist today told me I look so much more cheerful now – so I still have a Prozac (fluOxetine) to pop every morning after breakfast and an Atarax (hydrOxizine) before to help me sleep because I always have night terrors.

The rest are all health supplements. I am still very much a kiasu Singaporean. :)

Photo by Munyaradzi Makari/MSF

“I don’t enjoy being at the clinic. Bring ARVs to the community”

Name: Bev Murevi
Location: Zimbabwe

HIV patients need daily antiretroviral (ARV) treatments, a diagnosis that requires monthly trips to the clinic to pick up drugs. Bev, above, has been on ARV for five years and has to walk over seven miles each way to get to the clinic to pick up her drugs. Community Antiretroviral Treatment Groups (CAGs) help patients by decreasing trips to the clinic to only once a year. “With the CAGs, I can rely on my group members to bring drugs to me, except when I have to go in person to see my clinician for my yearly check up,” says Bev. “CAGs give us a chance to rest.” That being said, patients still agree that it would be better if treatments were closer than a half-marathon’s journey. On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, MSF is calling for health providers to adapt treatment to realities of patients’ lives: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/world-aids-day-portraits-my-life-my-hands

I will actually block people who say that not disclosing HIV status is rape. I don’t spend my life working around sex work and HIV to read this twaddle in my free time from people who damn well should know better.

We live in the real world, a world of power dynamics and genuine transmission realities, which say that if Ms Mendoza used a condom the chance of her giving a man whose dick was inside her HIV is literally negligible: not a thing that will happen.

It, in fact, did not happen, and would not have happened no matter how many times they fucked with a condom.

If you can’t critically engage with REALITY, with the reality of the world we live in and power dynamics and you think that people with HIV should be criminalised (and really really think about how that would have to work, think about everything that would involve and who it would be used against and who it has in the past been used against) for not disclosing status that will not affect anyone if they are reasonably responsible, then I don’t need to spend my time talking to you.

And I won’t.

Photo by Libuseng Marekimane/MSF

“I have fun during our monthly meetings because we share ideas on how to stay healthy and eat right together with taking our ARVs correctly.”

Name: Mampolai Ntsoha
Location: Lesotho

For HIV patients like Mampolai, above, being part of a Community Antiretroviral Treatment Group (CAG) means she has a safe place to meet other people who also live with HIV and to find support from peers. In meetings, members make sure everyone has been taking their drugs by counting each other’s remaining pills. They also share troubles they have encountered. CAG members rely on each other to take turns traveling often long distances to the clinic to pick up everyone’s treatment. Patients having trouble with their treatment are referred back to the normal procedure of coming to the clinic once a month, so they can be monitored by a health professional. They can rejoin the CAG once treatment is working well again. On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, MSF is calling for health providers to adapt treatment to realities of patients’ lives: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/world-aids-day-portraits-my-life-my-hands

Photo by Kate Ribet/MSF

“In clubs, we talk one language. It makes everything easier. Why don’t we have clubs everywhere?”

Name: Zithulele Khanyile
Location: South Africa

Zithulele was diagnosed with HIV in 2002 and found that not only was it difficult to deal with the stigma associated with the disease, but also to access his ARV treatments. In 2007, he joined an MSF-supported NGO, “SHINE”, a club where people with HIV can be together and create a system that streamlines treatment access. “It made living with HIV much easier!” Zithulele says. “I can take care of myself really well now. People can talk to each other, they know each other, we talk one language, we discuss our problems, the side effects we were having. In the hospital, people are still scared to disclose. In clubs, you’ve already disclosed!” On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, MSF is calling for health providers to adapt treatment to realities of patients’ lives: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/world-aids-day-portraits-my-life-my-hands