Getting Tested Is The New Sexy!

The key to stay safe is getting regularly TESTED for HIV and other sexual diseases/infections every 3-6 months and knowing HOW to keep yourself safe. Safe Masti is your one-stop solution for testing clinics/labs, useful information on preventing HIV, and de-stigmatising life after HIV. Let’s start now!

Getting Tested Is The New Sexy!

The key to stay safe is getting regularly TESTED for HIV and other sexual diseases/infections every 3-6 months and knowing HOW to keep yourself safe. Safe Masti is your one-stop solution for testing clinics/labs, useful information on preventing HIV, and de-stigmatising life after HIV. Let’s start now!

I AM HIV+… AND I AM STILL SMILING

by | May 11, 2018 | Living With HIV, Mental Health | 0 comments

“It’s better knowing and dealing with it, than letting HIV get the better ofyou.” – On behalf of Safe Masti, a programme supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

I have been HIV+ for almost two years now. This is my story.

As a young boy, I had suffered many years of abuse and self-inflicted guilt, and it had taken me three years of hard work and therapy to overcome my feelings of self-loathing. I had just begun to love myself and not feel like I was “damaged goods.”  Things had finally started to look up for me.

I met a man, with whom I had a short but intense courtship. But we parted ways all too soon. Two months after breaking up, he told me about his HIV+ status.

One month later, I found out that I was also HIV+. The first thing I did was to thank the man I got the virus from.

Note: If you suspect or know for sure that your partner is HIV+, go and get yourself tested. Immediately.

I’ll never forget the day on which I got back my blood test report. My heart was pounding in my ears and my body was shivering as I sat all alone in my car outside the path lab with the envelope containing my HIV 1 & 2 blood test. My nervousness was palpable as I fumbled with the envelope to open it. ‘REACTIVE’ was written in all caps on my report. I sat in a daze, for I don’t know how long, gathering my composure only after I sensed the wetness of my face. Some sweat, some tears – I couldn’t tell one from the other, as I wiped my face and headed home.

Note: Learn from my mistake and always take someone with you to collect your test report. Believe me, you’ll be thankful for the company.

My feeling of being damaged goods returned with a vengeance but I guess all those years of therapy must have done some good, because instead of shutting myself off, I reached out.

The first person I told about my HIV status was Gautam Yadav, an HIV advocate, who has been a friend since I heard him speak at the first LGBT MINGLE Youth Leadership Summit in 2015. His positivity and concern for my well-being was not for my HIV status, but for how I was dealing with it. The second person I told was my mentor, mother-figure and boss, Kiran Bir Sethi, an education maverick–revolutionist. She accepted my HIV status with absolute composure.

As for the man I mentioned above, I thanked him for admitting to me that he was HIV+. I thanked him because while he was still grappling with his HIV status, he had found the courage to tell me that I was at risk. I thanked him because I could start my treatment immediately after finding out and keep my viral load in check before matters got worse.

Note: Talk to people. Don’t clam up. Just being able to share your emotions and fears will lighten your load and make you feel less bewildered.   

Thanks to major medical advancements in the past decade, antiretroviral treatment gives hope and health to people like me who are HIV+. Yes, the treatment is expensive, and involves daily dosages of timely medication; it also involves quarterly or biannual blood reports – all of which need to be meticulously recorded for posterity. But that is a small price to pay for your health.

Fortunately, the Indian Government and several international agencies like India HIV Alliance, AIDS Health Foundation, Elton John AIDS Foundation provide free antiretroviral treatment, contraceptives and testing. So there is no excuse for not getting tested or practicing safe sex.

Note: Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with information from reliable sites like Safe Masti or NACO and take the necessary steps right always to fight the good fight.

I have been HIV+ for almost two years now. I have had to make many changes in my life to accommodate the psychological and medical effects of HIV. I have changed jobs and cities. I am married to a beautiful man with the blessings of my family. I am surrounded by friends and family who love and support me for who I am. I continue to work passionately for education and make meaning in my life though advocacy for LGBTQ rights and HIV/AIDS awareness. I am, like we all are, living a life worth living.

I am HIV+… and I am still smiling.

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The key to stay safe is getting regularly TESTED for HIV and other sexualdiseases/infections every 3-6 months and knowing HOW to keep yourself safe. Safe Masti is your one-stop solution for testing clinics/labs, useful information on preventing HIV, and...

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Safe Masti
Safe Masti
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In Part I, Vivek answered questions about the emotional labour of loving and living with an HIV+ person. In this part, he addresses questions about the practical aspects of their relationship.
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http://safemasti.com/loving-an-hiv-person-part-ii/
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