How to survive being HIV-positive in an HIV-negative world

Dear Poz People, don’t let the negative bigots define you.

It’s a tough, negative crowd out there. People call themselves clean and disease-free to distinguish themselves from those of us who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Bug free. No diseases whatsoever. Super duper clean. UB2.

Before, AIDS those phrases did not exist. Since AIDS, insensitive people have created an entire lexicon designed to keep out the virus and anyone with it.

As if doing so keeps them safe, or implies better worth.

Tell your friends how it feels, hearing them use those words.

Call out websites and media outlets that permit that kind of language.

Make these words and attitudes unacceptable in your life.

Do not integrate these thoughts into your vision of your world.

When these words invade your world, see them for what they are: an invasion. Consider the source ill-informed, ill-willed or simply an invader.

Most important, don’t let how the world feels about people with HIV define how you feel about people with HIV.

When communicating with others, don’t frame your personal situation in apologetic words: I’m a great guy, the only thing is, I have HIV.

Too apologetic. You do not have to apologize for living with HIV/AIDS.

Or: I’m HIV-positive, if you can’t handle it, move on

Too defensive. You are not on trial for having HIV/AIDS.

How about a better approach?

Oh, by the way, I’m HIV-positive, and I’m hoping you’re educated enough to know about safe sex.

Hope you’re educated enough to know I’m not a threat to your health if we have safe sex.

We can have a great sex life, even if you’re HIV-negative,as long as you’re open-minded, open-hearted and educated about safe sex.

I love to eat butt, but you must be educated about safer sex with poz dudes. Not here to eat dumb asses.

Reveal your status, not like it’s a dark secret or deal-breaker.

Reveal your status with a confidence that says, I’m merely revealing something a little more intimate about myself, and I certainly hope, for your sake and mine, you’re educated about HIV and safe sex.

Life with HIV/AIDS doesn’t have to be full of gloom and doom.

Life with HIV/AIDS can be whatever you dream it to be.