All I Want For Christmas
Thank you for your contribution to HIV disclosure to sex partners.
“Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I read this quote and my immediate reaction was – ” So why is it that nobody listens until you start to make yourself noticed by being loud, or an irritant, or a royal pain in the ass? I also thought of the many posts I have read on the HIV Disclosure Project site and my other favorite sites where there is a range of styles in the way messages are delivered. I decided that I like messages that vary from soft to extremely edgy and defiant, however I do not like the delivery of a message to feel as though I am being beaten over the head or shouted at in my face.
There are times when I feel completely hopeless and despondent. As though the message is not being heard, regardless of how it is delivered. Today another friend called, in tears, as they were rejected for a potential relationship, by someone they really liked and shared common interests with. It was a variation on the same theme I keep hearing over and over again. “Everything was going well until I mentioned my HIV status. Suddenly the intensity, the attraction, the compatibility and the initiative and enthusiasm to move forward came to a screeching halt.” Disclosure and the fear of HIV was the reason.
What should I tell my friends? That it gets better? To be patient and wait for an understanding person? Not to feel stressed, hurt and hopeless because change is just around the corner? I feel helpless because I do not know what to say. So I listen. I reassure my friends of any doubts they may have about being a loveable, desirable, valuable human being. What I want to do during these moments is to make a direct public service announcement that goes beyond a show of support and denouncing stigma and ask candidly – Would you have sex with someone who is living with HIV? If your answer is no – why not? Because that is the ultimate show of acceptance and understanding. This is not a soft message but I feel a need to delve into the fear and discomfort and examine the reasons why it continues to fester.
Hopefully there will be a positive disclosure story to post soon because we all know how sex and intimacy are part of basic human needs and good for overall physical, emotional and psychological well being. We are not living in the Dark Ages so why are we treating people living with HIV like this?
To all of my friends living with HIV this holiday season, may your disclosure to sex partners be successful. To all potential sex partners, please take risks, use common sense, say yes, and realize that each time you reject someone who has courageously disclosed, you are inhibiting them from sharing the information next time. This also disqualifies you from asking why people do not disclose. The good news is you will be pleasantly surprised. There is more to a person than simply HIV.
Have a Merry Christmas Fucking.