Speak Out : Living With Hiv In The Closet

Hi guys, my name is Tom, I’m a member of A4A since 8 years.

I’ve been HIV positive since 10 years now and nobody knows around me. It is very hard for me to tell it to people, friends, family etc.

I’ve been through a depression when I learned I was poz, and had to take antidepressants. Once in a while, usually around the fall period, I ask my doctor to prescribe me the antidepressants to help me, it stabilizes everything and then after a month or two, I stop. These help a lot!

Are there any other guys here who are in the closet with their HIV status? And are there any HIV poz guys that can give me advice on how to tell my friends and family, or how to do it? it is very hard to tell it, but even harder to live with it in the silence:(

Thanks very much in advance!


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  1. mj

    I was diagnosed two years ago. My family doesn’t know for personal reasons but telling my friends was the best decision. Having that constant emotional support is soooo important. My friends love me and my being positive has just fueled that love. With out them I’d be lost. I recommend one on one. In private. Deep inside you know who you can’t trust already…. share with them. The response will surprise you in a good way.

  2. TheCheese

    I understand. Im the same way but I feel that you dont need to let anyone know because its your business. Only people youre going to become sexual active with, that you might infect need to know. But if you feel the need to let everyone know then go ahead and do that. Empower your self and know it always gets better.

  3. Dennis

    I was diagnosed in January 1991. The first thing I did wsa to tell my partner..we had been together since 1980 and the sexual part of our relationship had died sometime ago but we wanted to be together and had a great life together, nice home, great jobs and very supportive families and friends. His comment was we’ll get through this together. Then I found a doctor luckily I lived in Chicago at the time and found a gay one who embraced me…and I took control of my 1991 when one was HIV+ your expected life span was 10 years…I participated in a trial conducted by Walter Reed Hospital that hoped to develop a vaccine which was a bust but I made friends and we shared our lives…I told my family in stages…friends too. No need to tell the people I worked with…

    I have never been ill…started taking meds in the late 1990’ partner died in 1997 while waiting for a liver transplant…the thing that helped me wsa that I never let my illness become who I am…

    In 2003 I was diagnosed with lymphoma which wsa the result of the meds I took…so be it…another stumble..but again I took control and made the decisions regarding my treatment after having learned as much as possible about lymphoma…the type I have is not curable….

    Now I am retired and my main concern is having the quality of life that I want…

    Take control of your illness…learn all you can and make the decisions you need to make based on that knowledge…

    Your a man who happens to be gay and be HIV+ but first and foremost you are you and not someone defined by an illness…

    Be honest about being HIV+ and tell those who need to know..

    Good Luck….Love You

  4. G

    My best friend contracted AIDS, because his BF (who knew he was positive 3 years before they ever met) never told him about his status.. My best friend found out through a friend of his BF’s after they were having unprotected sex.. Dont trust anyone out there.. I think this topic is a big issue and one of the main reasons the disease keeps spreading. It’s up to you who you tell, but please use a condom during sex. You obviously didn’t when you got it.. It’s all about choices. Some people may think I am being a little harsh… well the world isnt all candy canes and rainbows.

  5. Petie

    I had an HIV scare about two months ago. I hooked up with a guy and he lied about his status. So far I have been neg in my tests but there’s still a chance I could have it. I told a friend who also happens to be the medical assistant for my doctor so she helps me whenever I need it. It’s a very hard thing to do and is very much like coming out of the closet again. We preach having an open mind about gays but even gay people can be close minded a out HIV pos people. It’s hard facing that stigma and sometimes you even feel shame about it. I was very lucky to have a friend like that. I still haven’t told my family though. Try telling a close friend who you love and knows loves you back. That will form an emotional base for you to get your feet on and go from there as far as you feel is necessary.

  6. CM

    Tom, I was diagnosed HIV+ just this September. I have found that those friends and “family” members that truly care about are the ones I have told. I thought it was going to drive wedges between us, but so far it has brought us all together. My doctors put me on meds right away, and I have had a couple reactions to them which have hospitalized me, but the friends that I have told were right there with me the entire time. The support that they have shown has been very encouraging. I could not imagine going through this without them. But I think the big thing is to remember, this is the same as if you were diabetic, had cancer, or some other disease which you had to control with medications. The ones who care, will; those that dont, wont. I know for me, and this is all up to each person, but for me, the support has well outweighed trying to keep it secret.

  7. Emanuel12

    Been poz here for 7 years, finally told a family member and very close friend in which he’s also poz too, this really eased my mind and train of thought. For if something happened, my family member would know and it wouldn’t be a slap in the face. They knew what to do, how to take the situation. Don’t let it get you or any readers down. Follow your heart, but most of all be honest with your partner. I’ve not told many people outside of that, only a couple more people who I felt comfortable with. Just keep in mind now, it’s not a death sentence. Take your meds, stay focused. I’ve been very, very healthy from that day to the present. Ashamed at first, yes. Had to let go and let God man. People are going to talk and assume the worst in any situation for the gay life style. You’ll be fine, but much better to just find “one” person, whom you trust. Tell them, if you’re not comfortable with family. Don’t go it alone. Best wishes here.

  8. 21 years and counting

    Moderator? G’s post is hateful, bigoted and off topic. This is a good candidate for removal. Thanks.

    Tom, I would advise you to talk to your health care provider about it. Most towns and communities have networks to offer support for positive people, including peer to peer volunteers, other hiv positives who you can chat with. I am open about my poz status with friends that I trust. As someone who was infected by a liar and a cheat, it is important to me for personal reasons to talk about HIV with anyone I think I will be getting sexual with. Get rid of any “friends” like G who will bring you down and judge you. I do not disclose to just anyone. It’s a need-to-know basis. Part of your depression is your own shame and self-judgment. This is an opportunity for to turn judgment into enlightenment.

  9. wilkesracer

    G i have to agree with you, thats how i got it. now back to Toms question, Ive been poz 2 years now, I told my family the weekend i found out, and close freinds and i also tell ppl that im sexually active with ( even though not that many ) but it seems i get more hell from the poz guys about being honest on my profile than i do the neg guys, I mean do they think if they dont talk about it, it will just go away…
    Anyways good luck with your decision, but i do agree with most of the others, you do need to let someone know, if not just for the support you can get from them.

  10. dllindsey12

    Im a young guy of 23 years old and I’ve been positive since I foumd out the week before my bday in 2011. Its been rough with the amount of jerks I meet and it makes me feel like I will be alone for the rest of my life. @G:im sorry but its uneducated idiots like you who cause problems for people like us. Before you go sauimg your friend got “AIDS” get your facts straight. Your friend has HIV. Secondly youre friend is getting information from someone else and not his bf. 3rd dont be rude to those of us who are positive. We go through enough already and dont need any bull from people like you. Go educate yourself and then come back here.
    Tom none of my family know and id like it to stay that way. They new my ex had it and I was always told not to date him bc of it. That showed me that I couldnt tell anyone.

  11. confused

    When this disease first started killing many of our friends, lovers, brothers, neighbors and fathers the active gay community advocated the idea “protect yourself…treat everyone that you have sex with as if he was he positive”. When did that stop? Why are there so many new cases still happening everyday? Living in the closet about anything is never healthy or helpful for anyone. The stigma is still there if we choose to see it or not keeping people in the closet once again.

  12. seth

    The first thing you need to do is have a support system (just like having any life-threatening disease). Then after you have that in place and feel comfortable with your system, go out and join some local hiv/aids group.. They will help you with telling or how to tell your support system about your status. Meanwhile, I know this my sound a bit cold, but if you stop denying to yourself that you are hiv poz, the easier things get.. Since I been diagnosed with being Hiv poz (April 26,2013), I take my meds daily, exercise couple times a week, and eliminate stress.. Now the only thing that i don’t do is attend the hiv/aids meetings.. The very day i found out i was hiv, i said to myself “ok i’m hiv poz. Theres nothing i can do about, but move on and no point of of getting mad, upset, angry, or try to blame the world that i’m hiv poz.. That same day i told my closest friend, who now is my husband..

    Contray to popular belief I was not whore, slut, had no open relationship(s), or did drugs. In matter of fact I don’t do any of the typical “gay behaviors”.. I always used protection, but apparently my boyfriend at the time decided to be a dog and cheat behind my back, having unprotected sex. I got it by giving my bf a bj.. My life hasn’t changed since i was diagnosed with it, in matter of fact my thinking is this.. If i tell you i’m hiv and you don’t know or don’t or want to be friends with me, thats fine.. Your lost.. I control hiv, it does not control me.. Thats only one aspect of the person called Seth..

    ***** To G*****
    the fact the men lie is not the reason why hiv is spreading.. There are 3 main reason why..
    1. You so-call bisexual, dl, trade and str8 men.. If you claiming to love women and your wife, then why cheat, lie, and sleep with men?

    2. 90% of gays do some kind of drugs. Always parTying as yall put in your profile.

    3. My favorite excuse.. The condom doesn’t fit.. Bullshyt.. My husband is no small man and i get condoms that fit him and me.

    i will also add this.. Most gays do nothing but sleep around from man to man, sometimes yall have sex parties.. I can never understand how yall let being horny control you.. Don’t get wrong, i done hook ups in the past but always safe. Not to mention having a new “bf” every week..

  13. Carlos

    Wow! Im glad you wrote this! Trust me, ur not the only one that goes through this, I’ve been poz for three years and my life has changed, I’m alive but feel empty and sad. No one knows except my best friend and doctors and hope is stays like this. Hopefully we can communicate and support each other at least through writing! ๐Ÿ˜‰ what’s ur screen screen name?

  14. Karna

    How come G is the problem? He is right! Lets face it. If we all wear condoms and be active about protecting ourselves and others, this would stop new infection. I’m a health care worker and deal with this everyday. I’m also gay and have many friends living with HIV and all of them told me if they could go back in time they would change one thing: their sexual activities.


    I think that the longer you keep this to yourself the harder it gets. I have been recently diagnosed and I took it pretty hard. In fact I chose to self medicate to the point that I didnt even know who I was. I was a miserable wreck, a bad lay, and the worst part I was a bad friend. You become so self involved in trying to hide or shelter yourself that you forget that at the end of the day you are still you. The people in your life that love will still love you. Also, right now we are a point in Gay Rights that it is important for all of us to take a stand and put and end to ALL of the stigmas society has put on us. What I did is one day I logged on to my Facebook and posted it. It was one of the scariest things I ever did but you know at the end of the day it felt great because I didnt have to tell anyone anymore. It was out there and I think that social media is a big advantage we have in our day and time. This is just a brief summary of my experience. If i can help you in any way hit me up on a4a, its johnnyjdubs.


    L & R

  16. Fred

    Most guys online know whos poz and whos not,its time for gays to except each other..cuz there is way too much discrimination against poz guys in the gay community..also,quit kiliing yourself with all the “pnp” and “partying”!!!! God Bless

  17. Ron

    I am 51 and was diagnosed back in 1992. I am considered a slow progressor so not on any meds. I, too, have been closeted about my status. None of my friends and family know. In fact, my entire lifestyle is kept a secret. I am sure some suspect, but it’s a don’t ask, don’t tell situation. I agree that a support system is needed. I have suffered with mild bouts of depression since I haven’t found people I feel comfortable enough to share both my lifestyle and status. I am also not in a relationship, so that only adds to the situation.

  18. Rob

    Hello all,
    I was just diagnosed last week. I am still in a daze. I am 53 years old, bi and married. I am seeing Dr this week and will find out what’s next. The hard part is telling my wife. Anyone have some advice? Thanks

  19. Brian

    I have been HIV+ since 1984, well over half my life. I know its hard at first, who to tell, how to tell them, ect, but as time goes on it will be easier. Tell the people you love and trust, you will be surprised by the support you will receive, which only helps you in the long run. Find a way to tell anyone who you plan on having sex with, its just the right thing to do. Just remember, its something you have, not who you are.

  20. KT

    I found out I was HIV positive in 2003. I have not told anyone about it even though I have a pretty supportive family and one or two good friends. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve wanted to tell at least one person but can’t seem to find the right one to confide in. I don’t really want to go another 10 years without confiding in someone. So I too seek some answers and advice.

  21. CHRIS

    First off, I don’t have any experience with this matter but I wish you well, Tom. My only advice is to go with your heart because like someone said you already know who you can trust.

    @21 Years and Counting… yes G seems to be ignorant but do we really need a moderator to censor a talk back because you don’t like what he said? We’re big boys and can deal with someone’s opinion even if it’s rude and we don’t like it.

  22. Bo

    First, I don’t think there was anything wrong or off color with G’s comment. In 2013, when the numbers in some communities are steadily rising, not going down, G has put it out there in a way most people should be hearing it. The soft sell is not working. At 27 (not a typo) years poz, I’ve lived in spite of HIV longer than some of you have been alive, and the lesson I learned back when I didn’t die after 5 years was that you treat everyone as if they’re poz. OK, on to the post…Tom, families will surprise you. At least they did in my case. Being the youngest of 9 kids, stationed in Hawaii 5000 miles from anyone who loved me, I had to tell my family. Unfortunately, I had to do it by phone. Growing up in the time and place I did, it was a crap shoot that could have gone either way. Thankfully, I’ve never been sick and I do have my moments of sadness. I often have to remind my family that I’m poz, not to play the sympathy card, but to remind them to make better choices. I pass on my story to the younger ones now, so they can make better choices. I told my best friend, the straightest person I know, in one breath I was gay and the next I was poz. He has stood by me since. No one can tell you how your family will react. My advice would be to get that one person you know or feel will stand by you, tell them. If you feel like after telling them you can face the reaction from your other family and friends, go for it. The rest of your journey will have its ups and downs, but now you will have someone to help you stay focused on that journey…..Good Luck!!!

  23. NYC

    I don’t have hiv and I thank God constantly for keeping me safe because just like so many I haven’t always made good decisions when it came to safe sex. However, we make mistakes and maturity taught me of the consequences of having unprotected sex. I’ve watched several guys in the lifestyle die from this disease or see others dating and in relationship with guys with-holding their status (poz) and they end up with the disease. Some guys are that bitter and evil to do that to another human being, it’s really sad. My heart and prayers goes out to everyone in the world living with this disease, one day you guys will beat it and be healed of this sickness through the power of Jesus Christ. Just watch and see!

  24. Joey

    28 years positive and counting. Own your status. Make decisions that increase your wellbeing. Get rid of stress in your life. It will kill you. Get healthy habits a regular part of your daily life. Plus there are a lot of hot, healthy guys who as I am UNDETECTABLE. You know your status. Own it and make it a part of your profile. You may just get healthier, hotter, more in demand than you ever thought. Dont sweat it. Its your life from now on. Make it what you want it to be.

  25. Arnold Majuta

    Tom, I was diagnosed HIV positive 2 years ago, my immediate family doesn’t know but close friends and coworkers do. It seemed alot easier to tell my friends. I have been struggling for the past 2 years since I found out on how I would be able to tell my family, so I totally understand your situation. I too many times feel alone and totally unattractive with nothing to offer anyone else anymore. I have basically resigned myself to the fact that I will be alone for the rest of my life and make no effort to portray any positive or self confident attitude to make myself anymore attractive to someone else. I wish I had a more positive and influential attitude to help you deal with your situation. At least I can say you appear to be dealing with your situation alot better than I am with mine. All my best to you.

  26. JJ


    So much comes to mind when I read your touching article.

    I am not positive but have been in a few relationships with positive men.

    Communication is the key here. You must choose the people you will communicate with.

    I admire you for coming forward and seeking the advice of others.

    It doesn’t say where you are located (city or state) but there are some great medical facilities out there with incredible doctors and support staff. I have sought their help, too, to educate myself and “open my eyes.”

    A big hug! Have a wonderful upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

    There are many postings here that are great.

  27. Diagnosed July 2013

    First of all, to G…. condoms break!

    Tom, I was diagnosed this year in July. When I found out, the first thing I wanted was someone physically there with me to talk to. I began coming out to my friends last year, they know I’m gay, but I wasn’t comfortable letting them know of my HIV status. So the best I could do was text a gay friend of mine in California. But texting isn’t the same as having the person next to you. So I finally broke down and told one of my buddies, and he’s been very supportive. He’s constantly checking on how things are going for me.

    A few weeks ago, I was at a bar with another friend who has a strong belief in God and regularly talks about his relationship with God. I believe in God myself, but I tend to not divulge everything to people who have a stronger faith than me because you expect devout Christians to be judgemental. But I told him of my HIV status and the first thing he said, “Why didn’t you tell me months ago? I would’ve been there for you. I’m sure that must’ve been hard on you.” I almost cried sitting at that bar.

    I don’t plan on telling my family, because I feel they will think this is a death sentence and I don’t want to put that burden upon them. If I become seriously ill because of this then that is when I will let them know. But other than the people I’ve gotten sexual with, I haven’t told anyone except 4 close friends. And it was a good decision to do so.

  28. JA

    Hi, Tom, For your own sanity and stablibity, you should find at least one person that can support you as you maintain your health and live your life. I found out my positive status in 2010 after applying for and being denied life insurance. My blood test reacted and I was notified to go see my doctor. That was the worst 3- 4 weeks of my life. I was paralized with fear, shame, and self hatred, but through my faith and the support of selective Family and friends that I share with, I’ve been successful in maintaining my health both physically and mentally. I’m doing very well and life is good. This I believe is in part to my loved ones who showed me then and continue to show me unconditional love and support. I wish you well with your decisions and in your life’s journey. Grace & Peace

  29. 2rustinme

    Hey G,
    Honestly I can’t believe im about to say this but I feel empelled to do so because I think I am in the same situation. I am now hiv positive and I just found out a few days before Halloween (happy Halloween) it almost brings me to tears to just write that I am. Since this is so fresh and new my head is still spinning and im trying to figure out what this all means and how its going to impact my life. I am an extremely private person and I have learned many times over to be careful on who to trust. The only people who know that I am positive is one of my best friends (because he is positive but lives in another state) and my doctor. There are so many emotions attached to this that I dont know what to feel about letting other people know and who I should tell. Lets be honest we all have some insecurities and I feel that I get judged enough on a daily basis on stupid bullshit then to have this added on the list.. I know people judge because we have all done it to some degree. I just dont want people to feel or look at me any differently. This situation is hard enough to deal with on my own than to have someone “point the finger”. For now I have decided not to tell my family for completely selfless reasons. I dont want my family to worry because they have enough to worry about and I don’t want to hurt them. I am praying that I can learn to accept this and that I find guidance in who I can and can not trust I mean obviously I shouldn’t have trusted the person who gave this to me. Sorry for being so long winded but G you’re not the only one. I hope you find peace with this as I do.

  30. pahrumpboy

    I have to say I kind of know what your going through. I was diagnosed last September when I went into respiratory failure and my best friend took me to the hospital. When they told me it was like what the F*$& but I lost my partner of 18yrs from brain cancer so he or we were never tested after we were together for such along time. The first person I told was my best friend when he came to the hospital to visit me. He took it harder then me and from that he had a nerves break down and ended in up in the hospital. Looking back I think I should of told him later on but I just had to let someone know and he has been so supportive of me in helping take care of my partner during hard times. I still have not told my family as I do not have a good relationship with them and feel its none of there business. Like CM said in his statement its like being a diabetic it can be treated with medโ€™s and is not a death sentence anymore. Just take care of yourself and tell only those who you really trust . My friend has told his dad and his sponsor from AA who is also a friend of mine and they all have been supportive. The med I am on when people ask me I tell them its for my respiratory failure as it has weakened my immune system and it helps to keep my alive. No one ask any questions from that point on. But I never tell them the names of what I am on only that I can not prominence them and they run a shit load of money (I have no Insurance). So far as of this day I have good days and not so good days but I am still alive and doing well and plan on staying that way for year to come. For my depression I take Sam-e an natural supplement and find it helps me quite a bit. I try to stay away from all the other meds they try and push on us. The less toxin I take in the better off I feel. Good Luck and keep a smile on your face. Your not alone in this there are a lot of us out there. If we can make it you can to just think positive just as we are HIV positive w e have a better future then the ones before us had.

  31. Mike

    Tom, I found out that I was positive back in 97 butit was already full blown Aids. My doctor gave me 2 and half years to live but I am still here!
    I am married yes to a woman have been now for 38 years.I always kinda knew I was gay but never acted on it until I was in high school,then it was with my x brother-n-law.
    When I was in the hospital I layed in the bed and figured out a lie and tell my family.How was a southern man that grew up in a Baptist household and was married to a woman(high school sweet heart) how I goy Aids.They didn’t know anything about it so at the time I had a cleaning service and was cleaning a doctor’s office so I made up the story that I got it when I was picking up needle’s off of the floor. Back then they didn’t have a box on the wall to put needle’s in. If everyone knew that the virus could only live so long out of the body they would have figured it out. I finally came clean in 99 after I tried to kill myself. I figured that would be the easiest way out and know one would ever know my dark secret. When I was in the mental hospital that was the best thing that ever happen to me. I finally admitted that I was gay and I told my wife,daughter, and son that I was gay, and told my wife how I got Aids. Tp my surprise she wanted to stay together but we don’t have sex anymore. I found a great support group that I go to every Monday and it is the best thing ever that has helped me. I recommend that you get into a good support group one that you are comfortable in where you can open up. If you never open up it will kill you! If HIV don’t get you the stress will.I seen what that can do too. That is another story.
    I hope you get all the help you deserve!

  32. Jayson R.

    Folks, don’t feel bad… It, indeed, isn’t the end of the world! I found out my status earlier this year back in February and I actually was laying on my death bed! I ended up getting infected from my ex-wife. I use to inject insulin for my diabetes and I have a strong belief that she was injecting heroin with them and putting them back into the wrapper! She was a slick one because she truly kept it a secret! There isn’t a day that goes by that it doesn’t walk up and back hands thee shit out of me because I knew better. But on the other hand, I felt as though I didn’t need to use protection, being that I’m a married man! Luckily, I have a 3-year old son who is negative and I’m so grateful for that! If he had’ve came back positive, I wouldn’t be here, typing this out on my phone! I’m also a widow. My ex-wife was murdered trying to cop some dope! :::Sighs::: Just remember to stand strong and don’t let anybody tell you anything differently! Peace & Blessings…

  33. T

    Your post is infuriating and clearly intended to be inflammatory for the sheer purpose of being inflammatory. You should be ashamed of yourself, and I pity you for having such a limited capacity for sympathy and empathy towards another human being. You are clearly completely uneducated on this topic considering you refer to it as “contracting AIDS”. And just as an FYI, I always used condoms and still became infected. Nothing is 100%, my sheltered friend.

    To Tom:
    Coming Out with HIV is the same as Coming Out about being gay. Everybody pays a different price. I told my family I was gay because I knew they wouldn’t care, but I knew telling them I was positive would worry them terribly. I couldn’t destroy their peace of mind. I keep it to myself because it is right for me. If you fear rejection from somebody because of your status, then you must also question the strength and validity of that relationship. The stigma is very real as evidence by “G’s” comment. Don’t sugar coat it but don’t torture yourself. There are kind people still on this earth.

    Moderator-I agree this G’s statement is not related to this thread and provided only to be hurtful and should be removed

  34. dee boee

    My best advice to you and all who look at my post is to always think positive and do what’s best for you. Do not feel like it is your duty to tell everyone that you know about your status. Do it on your own time. With advancements in sciences today, it can be treated like it is just another small body ailment like diabetes. But there are so many people out there who are beautiful and will be there for you whether its a friend or family.

  35. rainbow

    I learned one of my ex-friend roommate had it and it was very sad and destructive for him and for his family. If you have AIDS it means you are human: flesh and that no one is exempt from any desease or illness. Now its time to feed your spirit, to take care of your life like never before and evolve as a humab being. You can livd a healthy life nowdays because of meds but the mind can destroy you in a glance if you let it bombard with negative thoughts turning into feelings that will eventually determine your mind. Be honest to those you love. Be honest with the person is sexually involves with you. Be honest with yourself and live happy no matter what. Have a blessed day.

  36. I Give Up

    Hey Jonathon I was reading your response to the blog and you are one of the GOOD GUYS I wish there were more men like yourself.

  37. B. B. B.

    In 1988 I was diagnosed as being HIV. My doctor told me to get my life plans together at that time this was a death sentence. I went out and bought a Cementary plot. Then I looked for a group where I could meet people who where also poz that group in Chicago was Test Postive Network (TPAN). There I got the information I needed and met people and joined a support group call Brothers United in Support (BUS). And then I waited and waited. My health never changed my T cells never changed. About 10 years later I learned I was what is called Long Term None Progressive. But in all this time I never told my family or friends. I never told them not because I was not afraid they would reject me but because I didn’t want them to worry. Even now I just told my best friend of 40 years I was and he told me he was also. But what I have realize is that I’m reluctant to tell my sexual partner so I don’t have sex or if I do it’s with other poz people. My advice to anyone who learn they are now poz is to search out support groups, learn your options, and keep a positive mental attitude.

  38. Jose R.

    Sounds like we just need to reframe. You, my friend, have an auto-immune disorder. Caused by a virus which is transmitted through bodily fluids. You deserve our sympathy and support. It’s the whole stigma associated with AIDS is through sex. What if you caught cancer through sex? Or lupus? Or any other lifelong disease… would that be just as vilified?
    People talk about personal safety and healthy behavior, and without a doubt do things that will benefit you and are good for you.
    You could explain it to others this way, people with cancer aren’t condemned. They are seems almost as heroic. And frankly, there are cancers that can be transmitted sexually… or rather that are sex-related. Hpv, herpes, oral sex, and a bunch of cheap that can lead to cancer. Point is, being hiv positive doesn’t make a person irresponsible, dirty, less than or any such thing… it makes you human.
    Just as any person that may die of cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol…. it could be indicative of other deeper issues. Just as cirrhosis of the liver is not determine a person’s worth neither should a pos status.
    The point is that you are responsible because you know you are hiv positive and take meds.. or are doing what you can to take care of yourself and others by informing your partners of your the very least insisting on safe sex.

  39. slow

    I had a friend who dated a guy and the guy lied about his status and infected him. my friend completely lost it and tried to commit suicide by walking along the train tracks in nyc. He felt the guy was trying to trap him just so he wouldn’t have to die alone.

    Aids is a very scary thing. I don’t understand why people knowingly lie about being infected. It’s a terrible thing to do to another human being.

    Once, on this site, I chatted with a positive gent, I am neg but have had loved ones ravaged by the disease. He wanted me to come over for dinner, I told him I would but then had second thoughts. I’ll admit, I was nervous but hooking up on here has never been easy for me to begin with. He was so angry. He threatened to contact every positive person on A4A and tell them to lie about their status and then sleep with me so that I could become infected. I’ve since changed my profile name and he unknowingly contacts me. I haven’t blocked him because I feel great sadness for him.

    AIDS has been around for a long time. Many people are living with it longer than people without it. It’s hard to trust people in this lifestyle because so many things are done in darkness, hidden, in the closet.

    I agree that you should talk to someone you trust or feel comfortable with. Many of the men on here have shown support, maybe these guys are you cyber friends ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. AJ

    Tom, I’ve been HIV positive for 25 years now and I got it from my partner of 26 years who recently passed away from lung and brain cancer. He cheated and when he found out and came to me, I made the decision to stay with him and deal with it together instead of leaving and trying to deal with it alone. Now we did’nt tell anyone for the first 5 years because during the time that we found out about our status, the world was less (and I really mean much less) educated about Hiv and aids, including me. And when we did decide to tell our friends and family, some imbraced us and have been there for us to this day. Other’s mistreated us and didn’t want to have anything to do with us. But we went on living and working and learning about this desease and as time went by and people got more educated about it, life for us became much easier to live and deal with. As for advice for you, you’ve already made a great step by talking with your A4A family. I personally would love to talk with you about what you are going through and might go through one on one. I can tell you that you’ve already been giving some great positive advice from the majority of the guys on here that have responded to you. And fellows, thanks for the comments and advice that you’ve given him. We all been where he is at one point in our lives and it helps to have guy’s like you in his corner. Tom hang in there and if you ever want to talk one on one, I’m “wantyou2” on A4A. Take care and hang in there. It’s now the end of the world and GOD did not bring you this far to leave you now. You have a wonderful and blessed day and keep your head up and don’t let no one bring down.

  41. AJ

    Tom, I made a couple of typo’s in my response to you and I want to correct them. The first is when I was thanking the other guy’s for their comments and advice. It should have read, ” that we all have been where he is now.” And the other one should have read: It’s NOT the end of the world and God didn’t bring you this far to leave you now. I’m sorry about the mistakes. Again though, hang in there, keep your head held high and don’t let no one bring you down. AJ.

  42. David

    I’ve been healthy poz for 27 years. I told all my best friends as well as my family members; I got nothing but support and love back.

  43. katmandhu

    Important things for important people, your family is the most important thing you have, you will be ready in the exactly time, i been poz since dec 2012, only 3 persons know about my stats.

  44. jay

    Hello everyone and hope all is well with everyone. Been diagnosed with hiv since 1999, 13 years now and still undectable. On top of that i have sickle cell anemia. Everything is going well for me right now by the grace of god. When i first found out i told my mom then some family members then some close friends of mines that i am really close with not knowing what the outcome would be after telling them. But they have been very supportive of me and nothing has changed. It has only made them love me more. I think when you can accept yourself and love yourself you can share it with anybody. I’ve always been taught that when you tell the truth it will set you free. Regardless of who accept you or not for telling them you have to answer to one powerful man which is GOD. You just have to have faith in who you are and be strong in any situation. And always put it in your mind that nobody is perfect we all have some flaws. If people can accept you for whatever the reasons may be are the ones who truely love you. Just take your medication and be stress free and everything will be okay. Once you surround yourself with positive people you will enjoy life to the fullest. But if you worry about what ppl may think of you you will always be stuck in one place and have fear. Today we still have ppl that are going through the same thing as you are. I think we as ppl need to be honest with ppl and this be a better place. And on top of all this, a ex lover that are no longer here didnt tell me that he was HIV infected me , but i still loved him and it has brought nothing but greatness in my life. So to all the ppl that are HIV get tested and be honest with ppl and you’ll see how far it takes you. Just wrap it up and be safe. I hope that my true story reaches each and everyone of you so that we can live better lives.

  45. jd

    Don’t be afraid to tell I just found out and I decided that I cannot let it be who I am. Yes u will have that person that gives u shit but its not their fault. Move on live ur life there are worst things in life, u will be amazed. And only tell who u feel is worth telling because they will be the support u need to get through this. I know I don’t know much about it yet but what I do know is that im not letting it bring who I am down.

  46. Smiles

    Tom, I’m going through the same thing right now….and it’s sooo hard….I’m scared too. dealing with a lot of self acceptance issues and self medicating myself with alcohol and weed. Now I am going to see a therapist and hope that I will be able to accept it and move on with my life. I hope you can too…

    Your friend

  47. einathens

    @ jd:

    The abbreviation ‘poz’ is generally used by hiv+ men. It is a means of reducing the social stigma attached to being public about one’s diagnosis by reclaiming the word and taking away its power to be used as a weapon.

    Some people use it as shorthand for certain behavior, but that is a different discussion entirely

  48. Joe

    to the person that said g’s post is hateful and is off topic (21 years and counting) sorry he is just speaking the truth so do not get mad because you do not like what is said. This is exactly why it is hard for the Tom to discuss. He is in the closet. He knows he should tell people about his status and probably rarely if ever hooks up because it is irresponsible. People are so mean and so uneducated and all it takes is one person to ruin you whether it is work or personally or intimately. There is no good answer here at all. I think the best thing that could help is a site where it is for hiv+ and anything goes can not be an option — negative or positive. We have to start being nicer to each other but I just have not seen anything but the deterioration where anything goes is just rampant and we are the most mean people to each other at the same time we want equality. There is not a good answer but I would say be careful who you tell and know your situation.

  49. J W


  50. ACS

    I was diagnosed 8 months ago. How devastated I was. I am married to a woman and have kids. I am still trying to deal with it. Thank God she is negative. My kids and the rest of my family don’t know. No one knows at work either. I didn’t want to burden others and have them worry about me. My wife and I love one another and are best of friends. She is my saving grace. I have started to reach out to HIV retreats too that were God sent. There is one in the DC area called Quality of Life retreats. It made me feel “normal” to meet others that were HIV poz and living with the disease for years and many have been through worse than me but are doing pretty well now. The whole experience was empowering. God bless you and all of us. Pray for us all.

  51. Dee

    I had the support of my good friend because he saw the signs and pushed me to find out if I was poz or not . Almost 10 years later im glad I did . Family doesn’t know its too stressful for me and them because I needed to deal with it myself first and get my hiv under control one day they will know but I dont feel it necessary until they really need ti know

  52. something real...

    Hello Tom… I am hiv+ I’m undetecta able.. My immediate family knows and 2″friends”… My relationship is totally jacked… He’s positive also..I just think if you can’t tell your family then what else are you hiding… It will set you at ease.. GOD BLESS…

  53. 21y.o HiV counselor

    Well Tom, im not Hiv positive but, at the age of 19 my dearest friend was diagnosed with the HIV. I watched his struggle and being riding it out with him every since then. Now at 23 he’s healthly strong and educating other abut HIV and as for me 21 y.o ima HIV counselor, and when my client who are or newly diagnosed, i tell them disclosing is entirely up to them. i highly suggest doing it to those who matter 1st like mom in pop, that unconditional love. Then gradually branch out if you please. The main thing i preach is time and doing it when you wanna, like everything its a choice, and you gotta do what you feel at heart. and to remember to protect others and love yourself.

  54. wilkesracer

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    POZ is a three letter acronym or abbreviation which can refer to
    HIV positive people
    POZ (magazine), a magazine and website that covers HIV and AIDS

  55. Pragmatic

    OK lets all just take a chill pill. G’s post was far from educated or eloquent but brings up an important issue that we in the “GAY” community tend to pretend doesn’t exist; and that is “not disclosing” or “lying” or just saying we don’t know, like that somehow makes it better than saying were “POZ”. It is a very grey area that in a lot of states (if proven) can lead to attempted murder charges and should. I say they should as someone that does not for sure know who gave me this little gift. (Maybe he didn’t know, maybe)

    With that said, when anyone asks me how I got it, I always reply by asking “what would change if I knew?” BUT, I don’t have to do the same to someone else. People have a right to know. Even if you are “undetectable” as I.

    In regards to your initial question…For the vast majority, living with HIV will be a lifetime of good health choices, medication and awareness. If you do these simple things you should hopefully live a long, happy, fruitful life. As to who needs to know? First your partners! Second, only those that need to know or those that you seek moral support from.

    You know your friends and family better than anyone else, let your intuition be your guide.

    As most do, I suffered from anxiety and depression. More of the anxiety comes from the unknown than the known. Educate yourself, keep a positive attitude about life, keep people around you that have the right outlook and purge those that don’t.

    Above all…keep yourself healthy and continue to protect yourself. Another error our community is making is the assumption that having HIV is the worst that will ever happen to us. It isn’t, there are actually way worse STDs you could get these days and the meds don’t protect you from those. I love BB as much as the next guy but finding another POZ or Undetectable guy, doesn’t mean you should be throwing caution to the wind. I did that once, a lot of us did that at least once…don’t keep repeating the same counter-productive behavior, learn from it and make better decisions.

    GOOD LUCK and thanks for listening.

  56. Killian

    Hi tom, I have been positive since 2007 and control it with taking my meds as prescribed-I got sickin 2007 and was on life support and my family was partner , mother and sister was told about me being positive – I have 4 daughters and they were not told-my partner of 10 yrs at the time was very supportive and never left my side ! i choose to tell my children in 2010 as I called them in a room one by one, I was surprised to find out that they already knew, family is not narrow minded as some may think and they pick up on things, I hurt them most by not telling them than I did by letting them know- so in your on time and when your ready tell them all one by one Family and friends, because they will be more upset if they know that your living with this and having to cope with it alone-! As in all things we say and do, there’s gonna be those few people that may shy away but if they are really truly your friends and family they will soon come around and embrace you! So dont do this on your own , we all need help in life and you my friend need your family and friends at this time, if not you will make your self sick and weak and your just letting this diesease beet you! I m here to chat if you would like , Ill even give u my cell number if you need me! please keep your chin up and stay strong, I dont know you but please know ur loved by me and others!!

  57. dee

    Why do you feel the need to put ya business out there I mean its a personal choice but what would you gain by telling people your business….. why be depressed because your keeping ya business to ya self… you wiuld think that you would be depressed by catching a disease that can be prevented by using free condoms at tbe bar…. man up take accountability for your actions and stop crying smh

  58. tony

    Hi Tom, you’re as sick as your secrets. What are you hiding? If this is the main cause of your mental and emotional instability you need to let those dear to you and those you feel need to know, know your status. If you need help doing that, there are a lot of organizations that can guide you. Best of luck and be empowered and don’t have a victim mentality ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. nick

    I agree with Dee, regret always come behind..
    That’s most gay people does, sleep around without think the future.. and feel depressing after they done don’t let horny controled u.

  60. Salamanir

    I think regarding disclosure, it’s nuanced.

    It depends on how it will affect your life (or someone else’s in the case of potential sex partners!). I was diagnosed this past july, a month after moving back in with my family while I collected my post-college life and started my real one. Ha Ha Ha.

    I told my mom that same day. There was no way it was gonna get easier to hide it from her or my sisters, since I was fully dependent on their transportation to even go to the doctor’s office and start treatment. So it had to happen.

    And for the first few months (even still now) all I’ve thought about is who else to tell? Should I make a facebook status and get it over with?

    Having this highly-stigmatized disease does nothing but make you feel like all your relationships (personal, professional) are tentative and conditional at best — if they really knew about your status they might collapse and you’ll be left all alone. That’s a sad truth. But only some will (and who needs that brand of judgment/ignorance in their lives). And if you’re highly dependent on those relationships (i.e. a boss, business partner, etc.) then it’s your own personal business and it’s not gonna make you any more apt at your job if everyone knows about your treatable disease.

    Of course, the emotional aspect of it complicates this because you do get bummed down at first. And you have every right. This is why I ended up disclosing to some of my friends. You can only tell people that you’re “stressed out” for so long before you feel compelled to almost desperately say “I GOT HIV AND I HATE LIFE!” or something like that…

    But my aunts & uncles, cousins, grandparents — they don’t know. College friends living a thousand miles away, don’t know. Would I tell them? If it came up or played into it, but I’m still the same person (+ a bit of a reality check) that they know.

    It is true that if it’s stressing you out, just go on and tell them. If you thought HIV was deadly, you won’t believe what stress can do to your body.

    Best of luck TOM


    P.S. and social sites/apps. Just be up front, the person who would ignore you when they saw your status up front, will ignore you when you have to tell them. Don’t deceive yourself or anyone else.

  61. Lee

    I have been positive for about 10 years. For most of that time, I did not think about it or do anything about it. This past year, I went through some depression issues, and told my best friend of 20+ years. He took me to his doctor. I have been taking AVR’s for about 9 months. I have also been taking anti-depressants.. I will say I feel better now than I have in many many years…. really I have not told anyone in my family. A couple close friends know. As do anyone that I have had sex with.

  62. Jake

    I am positive, for a long time since 2004, and I have not told my immediate family. My family just would not understand. I have gone to a HIV support group a few years ago, and I went for a while. However, I felt the group became a clique which was disappointing. It just seemed like this HIV group was like ANY OTHER gay group a bunch of gossiping bitchy queens. I was very disappointed and I stopped going to the group over a year ago.

  63. K1ngofspades

    Wow Im not HIV Poz but I defiitely admire all of your guys(s) standing up for each other. I feel its what builds a strong community, dont ever let anyone get you down! In life, things happen and all you can do is move forward! ๐Ÿ™‚

  64. alex

    HI Pos latin here 32, since june 2009.
    I have never been in depression and im private about my status, until it comes to dating or sexual encounter,.
    I disclose my status then, mainly to avoid drama and let the person decide if he is ok or not to deal with an HIV Pos person like me. I rater avoid drama and be rejected or just have the guy tell me “no thanks” than lie!
    As of how you should deal with this, I recommend to attend HIV support groups, they help with all sorts of hiv related problems and issues.Also, you need more people that might be positive and become friends with them so that you can share emotions, experiences and ask questions to help you.
    Depression and being alone is the worst, you need someone to cheer you up, someone that you can confide in.

    I hate how uneducated our society is about HIV and I dont blame you for not being able to be open about it,
    They treat us and call us dirty! and is annoying to call themself CLEAN because they are HIV Negative.
    YOU wouldnt call a CANCER or DIABETIC Patien DIRTY!!!
    Is so annoying!!


  65. Justin (NECutie89)

    I have been public about my status for some time now on a4a. Mainly because I was tired of all the drama that came with telling someone and the fear of being rejected and shunned, but also I wanted to set an example in the community and break the stigma. So I put my status as positive. While they’re still assholes about it, coming out on here has been the best thing I have ever done on here. Soo many sweet and kind msgs about how much I’ve inspired other men to tell the truth about their status. ๐Ÿ™‚ Now the men I choose to talk with and/or meet are guys that are okay with me being poz, and it’s sooo much easier to be myself around them. I never thought there would be so many good men out there, because I was so clouded with this mind that everyone would treat me like a monster if they knew b/c that’s what I experienced in my city. Now I see that even though i’m poz I will be able to settle down with a wonderful man someday (Nope, haven’t met him yet ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  66. Justin (NECutie89)

    ohhh there it is….lol nvm….waaay at the bottom lol delete my 2 postings that followed that one if you can mod, thanks

  67. JJ

    Wow….I think I counted 3 (maybe 4?) posts from married men. Only one appeared to have had support from his wife.

    Sheds light on the situation from a different angle.

    This article/blog post has been one of the most interesting on A4A (and one of the most moving blogs).

    I posted a message earlier in the week.

    Although I am not positive, I would strongly encourage Tom do what he feels is right. That is ultimately the most important thing (good mantra for any situation in life – many would agree).

    I do wish people would stop using “POZ” as some fashionable term. You need to really think about what that means before using it like something that is in vogue. I know many positive men who would agree that it is wrong.

  68. Steve

    First: JD, language evolves. I don’t appreciate that “selfie” and some other made-up terms are now acceptable but if I can learn to live with those, you can learn to live with “POZ.”

    Next, declaring one’s status is, indeed, something that is going to vary from situation to situation. What state do you live in? What’s your family background? Your co-workers’ background? The nature of the company you work for? All of these and more come into play.

    But it is important that you tell SOMEONE; this is NOT something anyone can or should bear alone. Choose a friend or join a group but find an environment where you can discuss it, even just briefly; you’ll be amazed at just how cathartic the experience of telling another person can be.

    I am honest with my status in my A4A profile. Sadly, that means virtually no one in the immediate area will communicate with me. In a region with several hundreds of POZ men — granted, a good many of them incarcerated — only a dozen or so are prepared to divulge it on A4A and only one … ONE profile states POZ-friendly. But I can’t lie and I just can’t have yet another date or hook-up or whatever that starts with “there’s something I need to tell you first.”

    As ugly as that downside is, there is one thing that keeps me going: In the nearly 30 years I’ve been POZ, I’ve gone from accepting there will never be a cure to firmly believing one will be found IN MY LIFETIME. Moreover, that lifetime now includes living with a disease that has evolved from something I thought about daily — even hourly — to something which — as long as I stay on my meds — I live with without much thought at all.

    The single most important message I can leave you or anyone else here is this: Don’t let yourself *become* the disease. It saddens me to hear folks talk about someone who has passed as “He was HIV, you know” or others describe themselves not as “I am HIV positive” but simply as “I am HIV.” Everyone needs to take control of this disease, be its master, take care of themselves, but I — and you — should be damned if we let it run our lives.

  69. Michael

    I’m gay, out, age 43, Irish, living in the UK, dont have HIV or AIDS & have a gay friend at work who is HIV+ like Tom, who did a very brave thing in telling people about his HIV status as was my gay work friend – I hope that I can be as supportive a friend to him as he has always been to me – there is a lot of gay people who even though they know about HIV & AIDS are very biased to those who are positive and this is a bad thing because we should be supporting each other – I grew up in Rural Ireland where there is a lot of fellowship among people including LGBT people and our friends that do have HIV need our respect, support, friendship, time and most importantly, our love xxxx

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