My Life Story

8_indigoIt’s amazing how time passes by quickly. Just the other day I was a twenty two year old young man agonizing over “the newly acquired HIV positive status”. Today marks yet another beginning of battling with HIV. If you would have asked me whether there was a possibility of ever making it this far some two to three years ago, my answer would have been, “maybe not”. I’d stopped counting the years and instead opted to live by “the one day at a time” mantra. In essence that is how it is supposed to be for we cannot foretell what tomorrow holds. Every time I reminiscence about that Monday afternoon as narrated here some eight years ago, and how the acts thereof forever changed the course of my life, it is a bitter pill to swallow. Everything I thought and ever hoped to become just “died”. I then embarked on a journey of positive living with HIV. Everything I did henceforth had to be factored into this “new status”. At the beginning it was not easy. The “why me?” question lingered on in my thoughts for days without end. I could not come to terms with what had just happened. For a couple of months, I lived in denial and was hesitant to start off on the antiretroviral treatment (ART).Little did I know it was to my own disadvantage because the more I delayed in seeking treatment, the more the virus was spreading fast. There were evident signs of wasting away as when one is infected at the time of seeing a doctor. Immediately I was put on ARV drugs after the necessary tests which showed my Cd4 count was very low. This meant had I suffered a major sickness like malaria back then, it would have culminated in the grave.

 

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Eight Years On and Counting…

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Sex,Intimacy and HIV

favourFor many men, adjusting to a  HIV diagnosis will involve a period of intense, changing, and  often contradictory emotions,  and having to deal with a lot of issues about sex and relationships. Everyone responds differently. Many guys find that having HIV has little impact on their sex lives, while others find it difficult to form sexual relationships because of the prejudices they feel or experience. It is not uncommon for me with HIV to feel undesirable especially shortly after diagnosis. For some guys, adjusting to a diagnosis involves having a lot more sex than before. Having sex is more than just the physical acts: it is about feelings, desire, emotions and confidence. Following diagnosis, you may have to work at regaining your confidence, especially in relation to feeling sexy, learning how to avoid transmitting the virus, working out how and when to disclose to partners, and handling relationships.

1) MAINTAINING A FULFILLING SEX LIFE
The psychological and physical effects of having HIV can result in a temporary or sustained loss of interest in sex. Some men are unconcerned by this change and consider having a wank is enough. For others, sexuality is a huge part of who they are. There is a direct relationship between how we see ourselves and our ability to function sexually. If you feel infectious or unattractive because of your status then your sex life may suffer. Many people with HIV have found specialised counselling in this area useful. Others find that by talking with friends and sharing their concerns they find they are not alone and the problem doesn’t seem so huge.If your appearance has changed through medication or illness, you can look at it two ways: accept the changes and find people who like you because you like yourself; or exercise and pay attention to diet. Body image within the gay community is often more ideal than real,however many positive men have found exercise makes them feel and look better.

There is also increasing evidence about the importance of exercise, diet and stopping smoking in reducing the risks of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. HIV can have physical effects that may affect your sex drive, like reduced testosterone levels. Testosterone therapy is available – talk to your doctor.While often taken for the opposite effect, recreational drugs (crystal, for example) can have an adverse affect on sexual arousal and performance.So too can some prescribed antidepressants. Some people with HIV report that certain treatments hamper their sex drives. Changing HIV medication may be an option.  There are medical treatments that can sometimes assist when sexual performance is affected for physical reasons. Some gay men who have trouble staying hard when using condoms find these can make it easier to stick to safe sex. Viagra, Levitra and Cialis are ‘erectile dysfunction’ drugs. There can be dangerous interactions between these drugs and some HIV drugs .Most people go through periods in their lives when sex is less or more important. So, if you are happy with your current sex life (or lack of it) then, fine. If you are not, then consider some of the options above.

“I was diagnosed a year ago, and, at first I was really worried about sex – mainly because I wasn’t sure about whether or when I should tell people about my status. But, I never stopped having sex, and I probably have more sex now than I ever have!” “I was a lot less interested in sex. It was becoming a real issue in our relationship.  I encouraged my partner to seek outside sex partners to take the pressure off.  Then I got jealous.  We went to relationship counselling and I found that the issues were more psychological than physical.  We’ve learnt ways to occasionally reincorporate romance into our relationship and now I have no problems getting turned on!”

 

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How To Date The Right Gay Guys & Not The WRONG

I can’t tell you who to date, but I sure can steer you in the right direction. Here are 7 sure fire ways to date the right guy rather than wasting your life away on the wrong ones.

Disclaimer: (This advice is one size fits all so feel free to follow it accordingly)*

1. Controlled Substance: Any man who is controlling, physical or damaging to your health and well being is not a candidate for you. Making excuses for them by saying they have a troubled past only means you’re enabling them and feeding their appetite. I understand we all want to aide a wounded animal, but if this wounded animal is a lion tiger or bear, you might want to rethink your strategy. Finding the right guy doesn’t mean settling for the first thing that comes along. You need to set the bar and you have to give all of yourself and expect the same. If you make one mistakes, you’ll make two and you’ll insist in a couple of years “I’ve lived and learned.” Many of us say that all people must go through these bumps in the road to be smarter and wiser but the truth is, not everything has to hurt. You can successfully master getting to know someone without having to be burdened with their shit. We are all imperfect, and don’t I know it, but when you feel like this is the love of your life because you’ve compared the shit you’ve been through to the shit he’s been through, than this is a regular Bonnie and Clyde and you see what happened to them. Don’t throw yourself under the bus. You’re so much better than that.

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