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So What If You Have Hiv?


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Recently, I found out that a friend was infected with HIV. I was actually more worried than he was. He had told me that for him, he was actually relieved to find out that he was HIV positive. He had suspected that he could be HIV positive so the test results helped him to move on with his life.

He hadn’t been using condoms regularly with a regular partner and had thus placed himself in a position where he could be infected, and he was.

But so what if we are infected with HIV? Life goes on. Based on current advancements in science, if we are infected today, we can continue to live another 30, 40 or even 50 years of our lives. What this means is that – we can only go on living, and living, and living…

My friend was able to accept his diagnosis very well. He started thinking about how he could proactively manage his newly-diagnosed HIV status – where should he seek treatment, who should he inform of his status, who are the friends he could speak to etc.

And that’s an excellent way to deal with it.

See, if I have HIV, so what? I can choose to stop my life, and be upset, and start blaming myself for the harm that I have put myself through. I can keeping thinking – if only I could turn back time, if only I had used condoms, if only…

But things have happened. We could choose to stay still, or we could choose to move on. Of course, it would be natural for us to be upset, if we are not informed about HIV, and our very first thoughts are that – this is the end of the road for me, if I seek treatment at the Communicable Diseases Centre (CDC), people are going to know, they are going to lock me up inside there!

But if I were to get infected, I will do what my friend is doing. I will find out where I can get my treatment, who I can speak to about my condition and find support, so that if things crop up, I would know how best to handle them well. If my employer finds out, how can I speak to Action for AIDS and CDC to speak to my company to educate them on HIV/AIDS. How can I inform my family and friends, so that they can provide me with support?

See, it starts with first having a good understanding of HIV/AIDS. HIV should be seen as a manageable illness now. A person can lead a much longer life than someone who is diagnosed with cancer, for example. The only difference would be that everytime you have sex, you would need to use a condom to prevent transmission, but otherwise, life pretty much goes on.

I have friends who have HIV who embarked on their university education, because they still have a long road ahead of them. HIV shouldn’t put a stop in their plans. The main change for them would be for them to start taking medication regularly. Otherwise, we should continue having goals, aspirations and dreams, and think of ways to achieve them.

Indeed, for some people, finding out that they have HIV means finally stopping themselves and thinking – what can I do better with my life? How can I live a more meaningful life? We are so used to rushing and being busy with our lives that sometimes we do not stop to reflect – what is it do I want with my life? Why do I make all this money for? What do I really want to be? Some of us have HIV for us to start thinking about these issues. Some of us have other life events. Some of us have cancer. Some of us get into a car accident. Some of us lose a relative or friend.

Indeed, every of these life events, we have been told, should be seen in a negative light, because they are ‘bad’ things. They are things that happen to us, because we are not good people, that we deserve it, that we have done something wrong and this is karma, or revenge. We can choose to see things in this way, and choose to lead a life where we blame ourselves continuously for things, or we can choose to say – hey, it’s just another life event. Let’s move on and see what else I can do next – my degree, my job etc.

Sometime, I think that we have made illnesses so much of a science that we forget the psychosocial and spiritual component to managing illnesses. We have to understand illnesses from a holistic perspective. What does this illness mean to us, other than medically? How can learn from this experience to better improve our lives and how we want to manage our lives, going forward? How can we continue to be strong, and find a purpose to live for?

My friend has understood that being HIV positive is just one part of him. There are other parts of him that define who he is as a person, and HIV isn’t a big part of it. But HIV can help him realize more of who he is.

Of course, some of us might still think – but he deserves it. He was promiscuous. He must have had many sex partners. He must have had casual sex. He must have had an open relationship. Firstly, I can assure you that his infection is due to none of this. Secondly, so what if it is? Do we not have many sexual partners? Do some of us not have one night stands or casual meet ups? Why are we more willing to judge others, than to remember what we have been through? I wouldn’t. I’ve stopped doing it, since I understood how hypocritically I was thinking. I had judged others, because I was uncomfortable with my own actions, and thus judging them made me feel good about myself. But I have learnt that if we are honest about what we do, and can be real about it, we will be able to deal with it in a more upfront manner. We won’t judge others because we know we can be judged too.

The most important thing to know is that we even if we have HIV, we can find out more about HIV/AIDS, find out more about how we can continue living a fulfilling life, find out more about how to deal with life positively, and how we can learn new skills to cope with living. And knowing this now, it means too that we also protect themselves now, before we are infected, to use condoms all the time when we have sex with other people.

In the past, I didn’t know how to insist on condom use with someone else. Now, I know that I would need to ask them to use one if they have no intention to. And people know the risks – they will use one if you ask them to. If they do not want to, there are other people who are willing to respect you who will. So, that means that you have to find the self worth within you to not accept people who would not respect you and would put you at risk.

And I’ve also decided that if I enter into a relationship with someone, if we decide not to use condoms, we will go for STI/HIV tests, before we decide not to, so that we are aware of our statuses. And if it so happens that one of us is HIV positive, how should we move on from there? If we decide to continue with the relationship, how can we continue to do so, by using condoms when having sex?

Eventually, it really means – how can we look at events in our life in a solution-focused manner, and how we can learn from them at the same time. Something happened, so how can we find the best way to manage it. How do we find out more so as to make informed decisions? It’s really not a time to start hiding into oneself, because the issue will only get buried further, and when it springs out, it will come with a whole host of other issues.

Like my friend did, he took the issue – his new-found status – by its horns and decided how he could manage it best. He would of course go through an emotional understanding of how he would have to deal with his status. But he was willing to understand what emotions he would feel, allow them to happen, and deal with them as they come. He also knew that whatever happens, he will have a positive outlook towards life, understand his self worth and have the confidence and dignity to continue to living a life that he knows he can continue to learn and grow from.

https://www.facebook...if&notif_t=like

Edited by oralb
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Easy if u noe u going to kena HIV then why not u go to e blood bank and donate ur blood there. E blood bank will call u to inform u tt ur blood is nt suitable and tt ur HIV sickness will be kept private and confidential and e govt won't even noe abt ur sickness. Better be safe than sorry coz from wat my teacher told me S'pore govt will take notice of each and every Singaporean who kena HIV and if they noe abt ur HIV sickness u going to have a difficulty to move on with life in Singapore. Furthermore u will be feeling isolated from other Singaporeans

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With medication , the carrier can continue and enjoy life as much as a normal person would and the life span is comparable to a normal as well. In fact, life is really unpredictable; a normal healthy person can be sickened with cancer years down the road and the when you discover it, it is already in its 3rd or 4 th stage.

Also, in the future , there may be a cure or better medication for HIV carrier.

So , be strong and move on. No point looking back.

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wow wat a long long composition. can just make it short with 2 words. MOVE ON.

Hey thanks for the message. I wrote this because I've heard of many people who go through a period of questioning about how they can best manage their lives after being infected with HIV.

Sure, some of us are able to move on easily, and say, hey, life goes on. But for some of us, it's not easy. And research has shown that some people learn to have better coping skills, but some haven't.

I'm sharing because for some of us who do not know how to, we can learn from one another. When you say, "move on", how do we do that? How do we actually move on when we've never knew how to? What happens when I've always allowed myself to be angry or upset at things in my life. When HIV comes into my life, can I tell myself, "move on"? Can I?

I'm writing this so that we can learn how people go through it, how can we learn from them and how we can learn to move on together, because sometimes, we do have a responsibility for one another, if we are people who undergo the same circumstances in life.

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Easy if u noe u going to kena HIV then why not u go to e blood bank and donate ur blood there. E blood bank will call u to inform u tt ur blood is nt suitable and tt ur HIV sickness will be kept private and confidential and e govt won't even noe abt ur sickness. Better be safe than sorry coz from wat my teacher told me S'pore govt will take notice of each and every Singaporean who kena HIV and if they noe abt ur HIV sickness u going to have a difficulty to move on with life in Singapore. Furthermore u will be feeling isolated from other Singaporeans

Hey thanks, but my question is this. If we know others might discriminate, do we allow them to discriminate and allow ourselves to feel negative about ourselves and have low self esteem because others discriminate? - becaus others who do not have a stake in our lives choose to tell us what they think about our lives and because they are people are not I portent at all in our lives, that we should decide to live our lives negatively because they've told us we should do it?

At this point, I don't have HIV so I cannot speak from the perspective. But I can speak from the perspective of myself as a gay person, and also from the example of my friend who has HIV. People are going to judge. It has been shown that if someone judges or discriminate, they discriminate along a whole host of issues. So if I'm a gay Indian who is seen as sissy, for example, the person will judge me on all levels of who I naturally am. And if they do, should I feel triply upset and be angry with my lot in life?

I do have better things to do. Think about how to live my life better. How I can be happier. For some, how we can earn more to have a higher standard of living, maybe travel, learn more about other cultures. Who is better off? The person who decides to think that because everyone discriminates against him or her, that he should berate himself for the rest of his life, or the person who decides, this is my life, I will lead my life proudly because this is my life and no one can live it better than I do? Who is better off?

I have known I was gay since I was very young. I've always known people would judge me. They've called me names. I've been pushed around. But that can only make me stronger - to face life's challenges. To be stronger and be happy to know I've learnt and am progressing in life. I've learnt that people judge because they aren't able to understand my life, or many lives for that matter. They can't understand. And I should be happier than I can. That I can have empathy to learn to understand that they judge because there's something they cannot overcome about themselves, and thus they put their judgement against me.

There are people who are gay who have multiple sex partners and casual sex who judge others who do the same and then who become infected with HIV. Does that make them bad people? Does that make us bad people? No, on both accounts. They simply do not understand. They do not understand HIV and they ride on the coattail of fear that everyone chooses to ride on or think about - why do people choose to fear instead of understand? They haven't understood why they have decided to have multiple sex partners and casual sex and they still have moral judgments towards themselves and thus they judge other and discriminate against others because they cannot overcome the judgement they have against themselves. Does that make them bad people for judging? No, that just means they do not yet understand. And they might one day do so in time.

I cannot spend my time being upset or waiting for someone to like me. I can only like myself. And when I like myself enough, people will start liking me. And if they don't, they are 7 billion people in this world, it's a tall order to have everyone like me. My point is this - we find the strength within ourselves and move on with life. We find the strength and self worth within ourselves to appreciate ourselves. Ben gay and having HIV, among many other issues, might mean people will judge and discriminate. But when we understand that they have issues that they haven't overcome, and it's not directed at us, it just means we have still, our own space, to explore how we can better manage our lives and decide - I know I can lead a better life, I will do it, I will make it work and I will lead a life that I am proud of. Because it's my life and it's my life to make it beautiful.

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So what if you have HIV? Do your best to spread the word and make people understand the perils of hooking up online and at saunas. It is not the end of the world but it is very serious indeed and you'll forever have a big hole in your wallet along with a multitude of other problems. Live your life to the fullest, but eschew making hiv seem like a small issue and that it isn't a big deal. Instead, save potential victims from getting hiv from their rash and ignorant actions.

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Haha no worries dude. I neva blame guys for being gay coz i dun have e rights to tell them tt. But tt's life dude u got to live it. U can neva shut ppl mouths off. But if u want I can help u to scotch tape e mouths of those ppl who bitch talk abt u

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So what if you have HIV? Do your best to spread the word and make people understand the perils of hooking up online and at saunas. It is not the end of the world but it is very serious indeed and you'll forever have a big hole in your wallet along with a multitude of other problems. Live your life to the fullest, but eschew making hiv seem like a small issue and that it isn't a big deal. Instead, save potential victims from getting hiv from their rash and ignorant actions.

Hey, agreed on this. This post is written for people who might be infected with HIV, as an encouragement and support.

Agree with you that we should protect ourselves so that we don't have to get infected. If we use condoms all the time for all sexual encounters, the likelihood of being infected is very much reduced - of course the condom has to be put on and taken off correctly, and enough lubrication needs to be used.

Agree we shouldn't make HIV looks like it's not something to shout about and shouldn't make light out of something that should be taken seriously. Mainly, what I would like to say, overall, is:

1. Use condoms all the time correctly for all sexual intercourse

2. If we are diagnosed as being HIV positive, we can continue to live a fruitful life. We need to have the right mindset and frame of mind

:)

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Love the topic. HIV is not a death sentence. It's just like any other terminal sickness be it cancer, tumor or mayb a heart attack. It's how you accept the fact and move on with life. You should never be discourage but life goes on. I sometimes feel people treat HIV as a gay disease but they are so wrong. It's just something that happens just like cancer

This is usually a test who your friends are, friends who cares about you will help you through it and treat you as normal. If they

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Oops enter too fast

If friends turn away then it's their lost. True friends will b by you all the world.

Guys out there wz HIV don't blame yourself or God. Just go on living your life. Remember HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence for homosexual. It's just another complex disease it this fast moving world.

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I am firm believer in Urine Therapy. Google that and look for testimonies about its power to boost the immune system.

Also there are now discoveries about stem cells being able to assist on HIV and AIDS... stem cells also boost the immune system.

Those who use poppers, drugs and stimulants are causing their immune system to go down and hence runs a higher risk of getting infected easily. Safe sex is important but there are also many STDs that can occur. So for gays who have many partners, it is important to read up about your immune system.

Edited by gz69
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There is hope in stem cell therapy.

http://landing.store-a-tooth.com/blog/bid/146590/video-why-stem-cells-are-proving-to-be-effective-against-hiv?source=Blog_Email_[%5Bvideo%5D%20Why%20Stem%20Cel]

How stem cell therapy works:

Stem cell therapy works by providing new cells to replace the diseased cells and tissues.

How it works for HIV:

At the California Institute of Regenerative Cures, Joseph Anderson is working on stem cell therapy for HIV infection. So far, he has been working with mice - replacing their immune systems with stem cells engineered with a triple combination of HIV-resistant genes.

"They were able to block HIV infection, maintain a normal immune system in the mice, even though the virus was still there," said Joseph Anderson. "The resistant immune cells were able to maintain a normal immune cell level and maintain a functional immune system.

Anderson says this could provide a possible cure for people who are infected with HIV and have a severely compromised immune system. He says the genetically-engineered stem cells will help them maintain a normal immune system through genetic resistance just as in the case of the mice.

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Totally agree with Madkove. The cure for aids/HIV is NOWHERE near being discovered. There are absolutely no cure for it. And it's expansive.. Please do not even remotely think its alright if u have HIV as its not. And it's those people around you that may be affected more than you. And it's not nice if u know you have an expiry date looming.

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Totally agree with Madkove. The cure for aids/HIV is NOWHERE near being discovered. There are absolutely no cure for it. And it's expansive.. Please do not even remotely think its alright if u have HIV as its not. And it's those people around you that may be affected more than you. And it's not nice if u know you have an expiry date looming.

Hi, some thoughts - there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, however there is treatment. There is a number of research which has shown that if a person goes on treatment, they will leave for another at least 30 or 40 years. The talk of an expiry date shouldn't figure here; if it has to, it should apply to anyone, regardless of their HIV status, but anyone considered "healthy", with cancer, is a child etc. Everyone has an expiry date. I will die anytime soon, and it might not be of HIV (Just on this instance, I think it's important to word what we say carefully. Let's think - if I (or you) are the one to have HIV, do you want someone to tell you that you have an "expiry date looming"? Some of the very excellent people I know are positive and I assure you that they hold their lives in high esteem.

In Singapore, current first line medication costs one, two or three hundred dollars. I won't say this is completely affordable but it is manageable. There is also Medifund available. If you ask me, medication should be free but that is another discussion.

Let's put things into perspective as to why I had written this article. I had written this article to encourage people living with HIV/AIDS on how they can continue to live their lives with strength and with dignity.

Of course for those who are not HIV positive, we might not understand the need for this. Some of us might also blame people with HIV for being infected. If one day I am infected with HIV, there are various reasons why I, or anyone for that matter, will be infected. And I am not going to blame myself. I will move on with life, and figure out how to continue to live life happily. This is the basis of the article. Regardless of what we encounter in life, how do we be happy?

Of course, if we look at HIV/AIDS education and prevention, we will look at it from a whole-spectrum perspective. If someone isn't HIV positive, they should continue to use condoms for all sexual intercourse. This is a given. But this is not what the point of the article. Somewhere along the road, I might write about how someone doesn't feel strong enough to insist on condom use, and how they can learn to be more assertive. Yes, there are many reasons why people sometimes feel that they cannot insist on condom use, in spite of the knowledge they have. I am bottom. I would know. Once, a guy tied my legs up with my underwear and I felt so trapped. But I have learnt to be stronger and have more self care to insist on having my rights respected now.

So, yes, people should protect themselves. Granted this should be.

But do note that the purpose of the article isn't to focus on that, otherwise I would need to write a book. For those of us reading this thread, note that HIV/AIDS education and prevention is part of a whole continuum, where different behaviours will be required for different people at different stages. For the purpose of this thread, I would like to show my support to people living with HIV/AIDS - I know some of them and am close to some of them. And I am proud that they have been living lives that even I cannot say I am capable of.

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I don't know the stats that ppl w HIV can live for another 30 to 40 years. But that's unlikely. Not everyone is a magic Johnson, most are like paddy chew. I am not saying that with proper medication ppl w HIV can't live productive lives. But truth is not many ppl can live productive lives if there is an expiry date looming, like it or not that's kinda the truth. They shd be given much support and love, understanding and encouragement. HIV is not a trival illness, it's not like if anyone contacted HIV at 40 can live to a ripe old age of 80.

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I don't know the stats that ppl w HIV can live for another 30 to 40 years. But that's unlikely. Not everyone is a magic Johnson, most are like paddy chew. I am not saying that with proper medication ppl w HIV can't live productive lives. But truth is not many ppl can live productive lives if there is an expiry date looming, like it or not that's kinda the truth. They shd be given much support and love, understanding and encouragement. HIV is not a trival illness, it's not like if anyone contacted HIV at 40 can live to a ripe old age of 80.

Hey, I would urge that you conduct some research on google before responding. You are grossly misinformed, and have a gross misinterpretation of the facts.

I would like to clarify the facts clearly at this point. please see the link below:

http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k78405&pageid=icb.page414422

According to this study by Harvard, "

Antiretroviral (ARV) drug therapies are enabling people with HIV to live increasingly longer lives. In 2008, the Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration pooled data from several countries in the developed world to show that those who begin highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) at an initial CD4 cell count of >200 per microliter of blood can expect to live to their early seventies (Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration 2008) (see Table 1)."

A person diagnosed with HIV at 20 can live to 70 years old if he continues to take his medication regularly and takes good care of his/her health

.

Of course HIV isn't a trivial illness, but so is any other health condition. And there are countless examples of individuals with HIV living amazing lives. I would appreciate that you conduct your research before you post information here, which will misinform readers here.

Like you say, they should be given "much support and love, understanding and encouragement." It is thus important that we do not perpetuate the misconceptions of HIV/AIDS but provide clear information, which is evidence-informed and clearly informed by latest studies and research. It is not right for us to perpetuate misinformation if we have not read clearly on the latest news.

Thank you.

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Please note that u can't get stem cell therapy in any city in USA or Europe. So far u can get stem cell treatment in Thailand and china.

Hey, I am not sure what you are referring to when you talk about stem cell therapy. As far as my knowledge serves me, there is currently no stem cell treatment for HIV.

Are you referring to the bone marrow transplant? Please see at this link the current debate regarding it:

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/06/evidence-that-man-cured-of-hiv.html?ref=hp

"Only one person ever has been cured of an HIV infection, and a presentation about the man at a scientific meeting in Sitges, Spain, last week has caused an uproar about the possibility that he's still infected.

Timothy Brown, initially referred to as "the Berlin patient" until he went public about his cure, received unusual blood transplants 5 years ago to treat his leukemia. The blood came from a donor who had mutant cells resistant to HIV. Following the procedure, Brown stopped taking antiretrovirals (ARVs), the virus never returned, and his doctors reported that he had been cured.

But new research presented on 8 June at the International Workshop on HIV & Hepatitis Virus "challenge these results," asserts Alain Lafeuillade of the General Hospital in Toulon, France, a well known HIV/AIDS cure researcher. Lafeuillade issued a press release, "The So Called HIV Cured 'Berlin' Patient Still Has Detectable HIV in His Body," that questions whether Brown was reinfected and may still be infectious to other people."

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I am firm believer in Urine Therapy. Google that and look for testimonies about its power to boost the immune system.

Also there are now discoveries about stem cells being able to assist on HIV and AIDS... stem cells also boost the immune system.

Those who use poppers, drugs and stimulants are causing their immune system to go down and hence runs a higher risk of getting infected easily. Safe sex is important but there are also many STDs that can occur. So for gays who have many partners, it is important to read up about your immune system.

Hi, I am unaware of what you have shared on urine therapy.

Is it possible to share some links?

Thanks!

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Hi, to everyone posting on this thread,

When sharing information on the medical and psychosocial aspects of HIV, is it also possible to post relevant links so as to provide accurate information on HIV/AIDS to the viewers here?

Thank you!

Roy

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Hi. Not ment to be disrespectful to you but if a person got HIV at 20 can live till like "70", won't HIV be just like diabetic, high blood pressure etc? I think you are auger coating this and to me, I don't think it's fine to trivialize this dreaded illness.

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HIV can stay dormant in the body for years or weeks become it develops into full blown aids. No one knows for sure how long can HIV stays dormant. Once you trivialize HIV and declare that a HIV positive man at 20 can live till 70, don't you think it will make people more into unsafe sex?

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3 cheers to you for as an informative composition. Like to add what is normal people.. Is people who have I.B.S problem consider normal, or people who have other sickness like cancer consider normal.. Speaking for myself like what you say having H.I.V to me it no normal then a person who have cancer.. Infact having cancer is even more sad then having H.I.V i would say. I have seen people who knew they have cancer died after 3 months from the day they came to know about it.. :hat:

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3 cheers to you for as an informative composition. Like to add what is normal people.. Is people who have I.B.S problem consider normal, or people who have other sickness like cancer consider normal.. Speaking for myself like what you say having H.I.V to me it no normal then a person who have cancer.. Infact having cancer is even more sad then having H.I.V i would say. I have seen people who knew they have cancer died after 3 months from the day they came to know about it.. :hat:

Just quickly in response - agree. How do we define "normal". I don't like to use the word, "normal" too as it suggests that there are people who are not normal.

We are all normal, and we are all not normal.

I think humans like to look at normality, because we define it in relation to ourselves - we like to think of ourselves as "normal" and others as "not normal" if they are different from us. So, really, we compare, to emphasise the importance of ourselves.

So, when we say someone is "normal", we think they are like us, and when they are "not normal", they are not like us. So, if normality is relative to who we are, then is there really a "normal" if "normal" changes according to every individual?

So, yes, I don't think we should use labels such as "normal" because they are not objective categories but categories with prejudice.

*****

On a separate note, agree with you - other than HIV, there are other conditions in life which are more life threatening - not just specific to health as well. In fact, HIV is now seen as a chronic disease, and not a life threatening one.

Regardless, I personally see any challenges that come into our life as something to learn from and grow from. :)

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Hi. Not ment to be disrespectful to you but if a person got HIV at 20 can live till like "70", won't HIV be just like diabetic, high blood pressure etc? I think you are auger coating this and to me, I don't think it's fine to trivialize this dreaded illness.

Hi, I would like to make a distinction between trivializing, as you have chosen to describe, and understanding things from a positive angle.

I would like to reemphasise this point - I have written this article to encourage people to continue facing life with a positive attitude and to stay strong and happy.

Am I suggesting that HIV is of little importance? No, I am not.

I hope that you will take the time to understand the complexity of what I have written out in previous entries.

From my understanding of your comments, you are fixated on certain points - triviality, for one. I think from the entries here, you can be quite assured that I do not think that anyone here is trivializing the issue.

Then, my question to you is this - why do you emphasise so much on it? I would like to understand your thought processes behind it.

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HIV can stay dormant in the body for years or weeks become it develops into full blown aids. No one knows for sure how long can HIV stays dormant. Once you trivialize HIV and declare that a HIV positive man at 20 can live till 70, don't you think it will make people more into unsafe sex?

Hi, you are bringing out several issues here at one go and lumping them all as one issue.

Please allow me to clarify.

1. During the early stages of HIV infection, symptoms do not show. And which is why early and regular HIV testing is encouraged. Some people might be worried about going for HIV testing. Perhaps I should write about this further down the road, but I treat HIV testing as another health check, where I take care of my health. Like all forward planning processes, you also plan ahead to ensure that whether the result is negative or positive, you are prepared to manage it well. So, yes, symptoms won't show, so what it means is this - go for early and regular HIV testing. I do that.

2. Firstly, I do not declare that a person living with HIV who is diagnosed at 20 can live to 70. I am not god. Neither is Harvard. But Harvard has done its research. And their scientific evidence points to that. perhaps you would like to take Harvard on on this. Do I think people will have unprotected sex, because they think that if they are HIV positive, they will still live another 50 years of their lives, and thus because they still have a long life, of which they would have to take lifetime medication, and where there are other side effects to encounter, that they would have unprotected sex, do I think that will happen? - I doubt it's as simple as you put it.

See, you have to understand that there are various factors involved when it comes to people and their choice to take risks. Information is one thing, but I highly doubt this information will cause people to all take risks. There is enough evidence to suggest that people take risks before they do not have the coping skills to cope with certain life issues (perhaps specific to this, end of relationships etc), or they might not have the confidence (or have low self esteem) to insist on personal self care, or to be empowered to protect themselves. Other external factors would be the interaction that they would have with someone - how do you insist on condom use, for example?

See, there are multiple factors at play here. Do I think people will use a single statistic and use it to rule their life? A few, perhaps, but I do not think we make our decisions on one singular factor.

Like you say, eventually, we should always protect ourselves, because we love ourselves and care strongly enough for ourselves to. And once we allow ourselves to be honest with ourselves, and to look clearly at how we want to lead our lives, we will learn to take charge and do what we can to lead a healthy and happy life.

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Anyone here who volunteers and works with HIV or full blown AIDS patients? Maybe they could give a better view of the situation in local context.

It's good to be positive - you have listed all the reasons to keep it going and move on. But in order to do that, we need to understand the problems and negative aspects that will arise in all areas of your life - which you are kinda just sweeping through. What is most important is to realise, understand, and cope with the problems and deal with them - then to be just passively positive.

Your tone of voice in your first post is just too... simplistic. Yes, you meant well, but I do have to agree that it sounds as though as if you are 'trivialising' it by your overwhelmingly ethusiastic doses of positivity.

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Anyone here who volunteers and works with HIV or full blown AIDS patients? Maybe they could give a better view of the situation in local context.

It's good to be positive - you have listed all the reasons to keep it going and move on. But in order to do that, we need to understand the problems and negative aspects that will arise in all areas of your life - which you are kinda just sweeping through. What is most important is to realise, understand, and cope with the problems and deal with them - then to be just passively positive.

Your tone of voice in your first post is just too... simplistic. Yes, you meant well, but I do have to agree that it sounds as though as if you are 'trivialising' it by your overwhelmingly ethusiastic doses of positivity.

Hey, thanks. I have been working in HIV/AIDS education in Singapore for the past 6 years now.

Perhaps let me explain my stance for this thread:

1. The focus of the story was really to introduce a positive coping mechanism for people living with HIV. If you say there is stigma that people will have towards people living with HIV, of course people have. But if you look at the theories of stigma and discrimination, you will understand that when people stigmatise, they stigmatise across the board - it is about defining and aligning yourself with the majority, and sidelining those which are not, whom you then label and discriminate - this is how stigma works. In the case of HIV/AIDS, there are multiple stigma areas because not only is someone HIV positive, in some circumstances, he or she is gay, a sex worker or has sex with sex workers, for example. And in this instance, there are multiple layers of stigma.

Could I have brought out stories of people being stigmatised? I could, but there are tons of stories out there on how people are being discriminated because of their HIV status. Do you want to read yet another one? In health promotion, we look at increasing the agency of one's personal self, to empower an individual and to provide skills for the person to adopt and learn to use to be stronger. My story was aimed at that. When a person is tested HIV positive, he or she will naturally go through the stages of grief, anger, denial etc - it is what society has influenced us into thinking, by the use of structural mechanisms which cause us to fear. Even for some of us here, who are not HIV positive, we understand this fear and thus we choose not to go for HIV testing, because we are not sure what to expect from there.

What do I aim do with this story then? I am not interested in further illustrating more stories about stigma - there is enough out there. I want to share on what we can do. Simplistic? See, many of us hold on to the ideas of HIV-related stigma, because this is what we have been taught to think - stigma is what there is and we cannot move away from it. Is this so? I am presenting you with another scenario, another way of looking at things. How can we think positively? The question here then is this - do we want to hold on to the stigmatising attitudes that we have been told and influence and hold on to them, or to we want to have a stronger sense of personal agency and decide - I can be stronger, I can learn to make good use of my life and live life proud.

Now, I am not just saying this because it is a lofty ideal that we should try to achieve. It's not. My friend is living my life proudly and he is coping excellently. He adopts this mindset. Many other people choose to live their lives like this. There are millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in this world. Should they be upset and depressed with being HIV positive, or can they decide - I can make my life one that I am proud of?

Separately, there are many theories on positivity, positive influence, resilience etc - I subscribe to these theories and I subscribe to the positive ideals behind these theories.

Question is, if we know there is a choice - we can either be sad or happy, and we can take their step, do we want to take it? Or do we prefer to stay in our comfort zone and what we know, even if that choice might make us continue on a path that might not be as favourable?

I know actual people who have taken a path towards happiness and achievement. Actual people. And they are one of the most excellent people I know. Do I write this story because of hope? Yes, but I also write this story based on the hope I have actually seen in these people, which inspire me.

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