Saturday, December 18, 2010

You Don't Look Like You Have HIV

It's so funny that when I let people know that I'm HIV positive, the first thing they say is, you don't look like you have the disease. "You look muscualr and your face is so clear" "Are you sure you have it?"
Yes after 24 years i think I'm pretty sure.
What exactly is the look? It may come off as a compliment but in actuality what does HIV look like? I know that in the early days of the virus there was a look. Before today's medication you had people with sores on their face or people who were once healthy looking, now you could see bones pressed against the skin. There was a "look" but not anymore. I can understand how people can be fooled as they see ads advertising HIV medication, mine included which recently ran in national magazines, and they see how healthy the person look, with mentioned clear skin, for men a muscular build or someone giving a beautiful smile.
But underneath that the virus still exist and there is no look. I say this because I have a new friend who doesn't know my status as I have no intentions of having sex with him as we're just friends (And yes gay men can have friend's with another gay men without having sex, but that's another post dealing with ignorance)3
He is a good person but stated to me that he can tell if someone has HIV. According to him, there a certain fat that exist around the stomach which is a cause of that person taking HIV medication.
Could it be because that person like junk food or hasn't made it to the gym recently or even that's the way that person genes operate?
People have sex based on this idea of what the look looks like. And if you're at the club, add chemicals like alcohol or drugs and that illusion really becomes your truthful reality and the next thing you know you're having unprotected sex. 
I want to make clear that not everyone with HIV hide their status, especially knowing they are about to have an sexual act. Most are responsible to let you know their status or if they don't tell you their status, make sure that they use every precaution to make sure their sexual partner is safe.
But we have to be real and admit that their is a small number of people who will not share that information because they're thinking with the wrong head and letting that head make the decision for them.
And it's not that they're evil but in an earlier post I talked about rejection and sometimes that person just don't want to be rejected based on their status.
So is this a safe sex message?
The rates in the African-American community is rising and it's not that we're getting any different messages than the other races. Yes their are other barriers that make us place ourselves at risk such as self-esteem, oppression, lack of education, racism and "I got so much other things to worry about in my life that AIDS is low on my list"But it can't be low especially if you're sexually active.
What's missing is the communication. Sometimes we put more effort in what shoes or outfit we're going to buy than who we sleep with. And we live in that reality that not only can we tell who's HIV but also who's gay.
I used to get on a friend who is recently divorced and she feels she has nothing to worry about since the man she's seeing is having sex with her and since he doesn't look like he has AIDS she has nothing to worry about.
he listens to Hip-hop and he has a deep  voice and a strong hands shake-so there's no way.
I had to bust her bubble because I know from experience in my wild days that I fooled with men who during their lunch break would seek male companionship and get home from work at the same time as if nothing happened and the girlfriend and the wife was none the wiser. All you have to do around lunch time is check out which is a website for those unfamiliar with it, and see how many married or straight men are looking for an afternoon Scooby snack.
It takes two to get infected and it also takes two to communicate and just one look at a person will not let you know what their sexual history is.
And if you're married or in a committed relationship you still need that communication. And if your Spider sense is going off, get tested because it's easier to deal with any disease early before it gets out of hand than waiting until damage is done.
So say it all together. There is no look! and if you have been having unprotected sex with anyone, if you want tot know what the look looks like, just look in the mirror. That's what HIV/AIDS look like!

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