Scroll To Top
Daily Dose

Positively Empowered

Positively Empowered

You can’t change your status, but you can change how you live your life with it.

People often say that everyone’s problems are relative, but in the grand scheme of viruses and diseases, they are not all created equal. HIV used to be one of the meanest sons of bitches on the block. The suffering people endured from AIDS-related illnesses in the ‘80s and ‘90s left a stain on the world many still feel today. But unlike other more perilous foes, the physical impact of a new HIV diagnosis has lost the weight of its punch, despite its bitch of a reputation lingering.

When it comes to treating a new patient with HIV today, it’s a fairly simple, straightforward route to achieving a suppressed viral load. With treatment, most HIV-positive people will never experience AIDS-related illnesses. Instead, it’s a simple pill-a-day solution to keeping your health in check, with even more innovative treatment options on the way (like long-lasting injectables).

So, now that HIV isn’t the omnipresent medical nightmare it once was, why does it still seem like such a big deal? An HIV diagnosis has always had an impact far beyond the medical risks involved with the virus. From shame and stigma, to isolation and fear, poz people suffer from psychological symptoms that have the ability to manifest into real, physical illness and pain. It’s emotional trauma that keeps them in the closet, remaining silent and often feeling unable to reach out for support. Even though HIV has been reduced to a chronic, highly manageable disease for those on treatment, it’s sometimes seen as the mark of shame and embarrassment.

But in the age of PrEP, proof that undetectable means unable to transmit HIV, and in an increasing sex-positive movement, is it still a risk to come out about your status? The answer is both yes and no.

There is always a risk of judgment from ignorant people who spew negativity and see someone as lesser than themselves. For them, HIV is an easy target, a big red button to push if they are looking to inflict pain (often because they are in pain themselves). You may not be able to escape haters, but you don’t need to allow their hatred, judgment, and toxic bullshit to become your reality.

In 2018, demand people to accept your status, and accept only love, understanding, and support. If this changes the landscape of your social network, it will be an improvement. When you open up about your status, it’s hard to notice people disappear from your life because you’ve allowed new people in. This process of acceptance starts with you.

Stop judging your past or seeing yourself differently just because life happened. Don’t let a chronic illness get in your way, or stop you from achieving goals. In fact, make bigger goals. Demand no less than love and acceptance from the people around you, and live your life accordingly.

For an otherwise healthy newly diagnosed person, what your HIV-positive status means is an increased responsibility to maintain your health, take your treatment, and be proactive about your increased health risks. It means being an advocate in your own healthcare and staying on top of the latest in medical advances, insurance changes, and state and federal funded assistance programs. Yes, there is always a possibility for medical complications and changes in coverage. Because of that, it’s up to you to stay on top of your health and make sure to monitor a few risk factors that you are now more susceptible too.

But hey, that’s just life, babe, and you got this.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Tyler Curry