What if I’m young, gay and poz?

Seven important HIV/AIDS survival tips from a longtime AIDS survivor.

Waaaaay back in 1985, I was young, gay and poz.

At the height of the original AIDS Panic, I found out I was infected with HIV/AIDS. I was a 23-year-old UCLA grad of one month.

Twenty-five years later, I’m alive and well, and posting my HIV-P.O.V. on this newfangled thing called the internet. lol

Yep, I’ve survived being poz, as it’s now called, 25 years and counting. I’ve lived long enough to see a new AIDS Panic and epidemic among whole new younger generation of gay men, especially of color.

Twenty-five years after Rock Hudson shocked the world, countless young men and women America are being infected with the virus daily. I don’t have all the answers as to why there’s a sequel to the original AIDS Monster Movie, but as a longtime AIDS survivor, I do have some advice for those who are young, gay and poz.

  1. Get tested. The more you know about your health, the more informed your life choices and decisions. The sooner you know about any health challenges, the sooner you can do your best to deal with it.
  2. Find a reputable doctor who’s been dealing with poz people and gets good reviews from other poz people. Appoint yourself as the CEO of your health. Appoint your doctor as your chief medical adviser. Maintain a good healthy partnership. Work together to manage your health
  3. Gravitate towards people who see you in a better light.
  4. Realize that you are not obligated to reveal your private medical information, including your poz status, to just anyone. Vanquish any idea that you are somehow tainted and must go around apologizing for something about yourself, or adding an asterisk to who you are.
  5. If you decide to reveal you status to someone, vanquish any suggestion you’re about to give bad news, or something cautionary, as if a dark secret or deal breaker or red flag is coming next.
  6. Think of revealing your poz status as you revealing something very personal that makes you unique, a young person who’s brave enough to share something so honest and revealing. That means you have guts, more guts than most people. That makes you an interesting person. How did you get those guts? That confidence? That bravery? That ability to show your vulnerability? You must have a story to tell, a story that makes you interesting and special, a story others might benefit from knowing. Gravitate towards people who see you in a better light.
  7. Know that you deserve to be with someone who’s smart enough to know that you don’t have to be a threat to their health and safety, someone who’s educated about safe sex, or at the very least, open-minded enough to educate him or herself about the subject, not run away simply because a great person like you is living with HIV/AIDS.

And finally, for more tips like these and so much more, keep coming back to the Blocks to check out HIV-P.O.V., a blog column about my life with HIV/AIDS for 25 years and counting, now and forever at Randy Boyd’s Blocks.