Stickman Readers' Submissions November 24th, 2010

HIV And The Gift Of Life

I've been reading some stories lately on stickman regarding HIV and just wanted to put a few thoughts out there. First of all I am HIV + and have been for 12 months.

The Korski submission was quite well put together and I feel a lot of what he stated in regards to how the virus is transmitted in Thailand to be pretty spot on although Stick was right in pointing out that we don’t really know that for sure. Korski
lets the readers know that HIV is a numbers game and in that he is right. it is a numbers game.

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I would like to point out the information I have studied and received from my doctor in relation to HIV. He told me bluntly the odds of transmission were as follows – anal sex one in a hundred chance of transmission from an infected partner to a non infected
partner per "episode" which means the more you are to do it the more likely you will get it. Heterosexual sex one in a three hundred chance per episode and oral sex one in seven hundred chance per episode. However this is in the case
of female getting infected from a male partner as saliva in the male is a defence against transmission in the case of performing oral sex on a female partner the virus cannot survive long in open air as it is killed off quickly. I personally have
doubt on the figure of one in seven hundred per episode. In the case of oral sex for the female recipient as the information material that has been handed to me in clinics states transmission as low risk in the case of oral sex. This is of course
not to say "no risk" as the way the virus works is as it enters your system you may or may not show symptoms.

In my case I got very ill and was aware very quickly that I had it. The virus is measured in two ways – viral load and CD 4 count. The viral load is measured to determine how quickly the virus is replicated and how quickly you will be to develop fully
blown AIDS. The other count of note is your cd4 cell count which is how many cells your have to defend yourself against everyday. Things such as colds and flu and other viral infections, a typical count in the non infected persons is between 500
to 1300 cells. Once u you drop below 200 your are at significant risk of infections and can die. The viral load is usually anywhere from zero to one hundred thousand is the average level in the HIV patient. Once above a hundred thousand your CD
4 count can slide down and put you at risk of illness.


Now onto what can be done once you have the virus. There are numerous antiretroviral medicines for HIV patients but this requires discipline in that if you miss any dosages the virus builds up resistance to the drug and can be rendered useless. Most medicines
include combination therapy where by you take 3 different types of drug to counteract the virus from resistance. Now the type of medication you are able to take depends upon the test of whereby a blood sample is tested in a lab to determine whether
or not it will be able to halt the progression of the virus replicating. Now in theory if you are able to maintain taking your medication you will have a good chance of eventually returning a negative result on the virus which would mean there
would be no detectable level of HIV in your bloodstream, however the virus hides in other areas of your body and there is no cure. When I asked the doctor does he think there would ever be a cure he told me "no" but if you are disciplined
in your meds then you have no detectable level of HIV then there is no reason why you will not live for quite a long time. However it must be noted that the side effects of lifetime medication would in all likelihood take a number of years of
your life compared to not having to take the medication as other complications can occur. Now onto the more emotive side of the virus, Korski mentions in his writings that some people who get HIV may have the "well, fuck the world" attitude
and not care about safe sex lets look at this a little closer.


I once heard a joke when I was young and it went something like this. A guy has unprotected sex with a lady and after they have finished he says I hope you don’t have AIDS. She replies no I do not then he says good because I didn’t want
to catch it again.

People who have HIV have got nothing to lose, right, because what the hell, it can't get any worse. Well that could not be further from the truth. People who have HIV and have done their research will know you have a lot more to lose. Allow me to
explain. The HIV virus is divided into categories HIV 1 and HIV 2 plus also there are many different strains of virus within these categories. Remember when I said the lab will test your blood to see what medicines will be of benefit. Well if
an HIV+ person were to get a different strain of HIV his / her position would change dramatically in the fact that they would need more multiple types of medications to now combat the virus and it could become possible with secondary infections
that the treatment options could well run out and if that happens your time here has been dramatically reduced even further. <But how many HIV patients know that or even care?Stick> Add to that the possibility
of contracting other STDs which would also be a big problem as that would speed up the viral load in your system to make things a lot more difficult.

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I am HIV+ and am actually more scared now of getting an STD of any kind than I ever have been. Why you might ask? I want to live. This is my time and my gift. I don’t want to waste it. Yes, I love sex like the next guy but I have protected sex
with all and it is because I never want a secondary infection as my current HIV virus is actually now treatable with one tablet a day called Atripla. If I was to be infected with another strain my problems would triple and my life expectancy would
slide so any person who has HIV and has done their research, which should be all, would know aside from our moral obligations we also more than ever need to protect ourselves.

The biggest danger in Asia is not people who have HIV and are aware of it but those who won't get tested and have it and continue in high risk situations. I don’t personally blame them, after all people think HIV+ persons are disgusting and
dirty and amoral and an outcast so why bother to get tested when you would face the pain of being a social leper? If people were educated and more understanding of the virus I think more people would be tested. As it stands I have a friend who
never gets tested and says he never will because he doesn't want to know. I guess many feel this way and he does the bargirl scene mostly with condoms but sometimes without. The biggest problem we all must face is the virus itself and at
the end of the day if we have sex and use a condom properly and also as Korski says not engage in rough sex then you will never get the virus. It's that simple and it is. If you can't cum while wearing a condom just shoot in her face
or tits. Get over it, be safe and you will always be happy never thinking mmm, should I get tested.

Sorry, Stick, but the idea of being uncomfortable with HIV guys using the bar girl scene is completely unfounded, although understandable form your point of view as a non-infected person (an assumption LOLl). On the basis that if "you" wear
a condom "you" cannot be infected. HIV+ persons have a right to enjoy sex as much as any person in this world but we do have a moral obligation to do the right thing and also a medical obligation to ourselves to keep from getting the
deadly secondary infection. But you know, I have been a HIV- and HIV+ person so can see it from both point of views. I don’t expect people who are non infected will change their thinking overnight but those who are well versed with the
information would understand the virus better at least. If in fact, Stick, you have emails from readers saying they are HIV+ and will do what they like in the bar scene because they don’t care, either they don’t have the virus and
want to stir up fear in you or may have the virus and have no education on what they actually have, do I feel unlucky to have the virus because most times I used a condom? No, not at all, I had a choice and as Stick would say I “used poor
judgment". I don’t feel even a little unlucky. It was my turn.


It is that simple. To all my fellow persons, whether you be enjoying the bar scene as any man is entitled to do to, or whether you may be a lady working in the industry, if you think safe, be safe, you will be safe. So simple really and smile, we are
not here that long so enjoy it. It is our time.


It is interesting to hear the thoughts of someone who is HIV+.

My thoughts are very clear on this subject. I believe that you, as someone who is HIV+, have a moral obligation to inform anyone you intend to have sex with of your HIV status. That you claim to use a condom all the time is irrelevant. You are potentially endangering another person and as such they have an absolute right to know and to make a judgment as to whether they wish to continue or not. Failure to do so is, in my opinion not just extreme selfishness. It is criminal.

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