I am HIV+

I am HIV+.

That’s a small sentence that takes great bravery to say.

While surfing through Manjam (a gay dating website), I realized that there were some men who publicly stated their HIV+ health status on their profiles.

“I’m HIV+ healthy man, very sexy i love my life and i live in peace”, states one user on his profile.

“Positively Positive Attitude… looking for serious”, pronounces another.

As shown on Manjam (gay dating site)

I wanted to know more about what it was like to be gay and HIV positive in Lebanon, so I was very glad when one of the men graciously agreed to answer my questions.

Here are some things I found out about him:

– When he knew he was HIV+, he cried so much because he knew nothing about the disease at the time

– The first person he told about the test results was a close friend

– When his parents first found out, it was hard on them, but now that they are more familiar with the disease, they fully support him

– He is able to afford the medical expenses because he lives abroad

There are many misinformed people who think that HIV is transmitted through a handshake, a kiss on the cheek, hugging or even sneezing. So I asked him “What do you have to say to people who are afraid of you infecting them with HIV?”.

I honestly did not expect his answer to be:

“I don’t blame them. It’s not their fault if they’re not well informed about it”.

It takes a lot of understanding to not be judgmental towards those who are judging you, doesn’t it?

He later said that the misconception he wants to correct is that “an HIV+ person is a dying person who transmits the virus everywhere.” According to him, ignorance is the biggest form of discrimination that HIV positive people face in Lebanon.

When it comes to dating, sex, and relationships:

– He has never been rejected by a guy because of his health status

– He has been in love 3 times since his diagnosis and is currently in a relationship

– He always uses a condom when he has sex with people who aren’t positive

– When it’s a pure sexual relationship, he doesn’t tell the person he is having sex with that he is HIV+ because it’s a very personal matter, but safe sex is a must

He also has a word of advice for people who don’t use a condom during a one night stand, or those who refuse to take an HIV test because they are afraid of the result, or just don’t care about it:

“To use a condom is for their own good before anyone else’s. To have the test once in a while is also for their own good!”

Some cool info are:

– What he hates most about Lebanon is the politics and religious conflicts (Oh don’t we all…)

– What he loves most about Beirut is that all his family, friends and memories linger here

– He listens to Edith Piaf, Dalida & Oum Koulthoum

– His favorite movies are Elizabeth, The Others & City of Angels

– Favorite books are all of Gebran Khalil Gebran’s manuscripts

I want to thank this man for answering my questions. I learned a lot! 🙂

HIV positive people are no different from HIV negative people.

Just because they carry the virus doesn’t mean that they can’t fall in love, make friends, build positive healthy relationships, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean that they transmit the virus through a handshake or a kiss on the cheek.

They’re not “dying” people. They’re living! They’re taking their medications and are healthy individuals.

Their diagnosis doesn’t make them any less Lebanese.

HIV+ people have the same dreams, hopes and aspirations for this country, just like any other Lebanese person.

Spread the Word.

Spread the word…

*A special wet Thank You kiss goes out to my 3 friends who translated the interview for me. Couldn’t have done it without you guys!*

8 thoughts on “I am HIV+

  1. bahaafe September 22, 2010 / 9:51 am

    It need really bravery to admit ur HIV+ and live with it….

    • BeirutBoy September 22, 2010 / 9:49 pm

      And I think accepting it URSELF is the key.

  2. gayinbeirut September 22, 2010 / 4:22 pm

    wow… a touchy subject but you tacked it just right.. the reporter in you just did an amazing job!

    • BeirutBoy September 22, 2010 / 9:50 pm

      This post means so much to me. Put a lot of effort into it. So ur comment made me smile. Thanks GiB! =)

  3. xyz September 23, 2010 / 2:20 am

    great interview, and i’m generally super impressed with your subject and his amazing attitude… except he should NOT be having sex with ANYONE he has not informed about his + status!!

    practicing safe sex is not an excuse for not coming clean to the other guy. yes i know it’s very personal and awkward to discuss, but he is endangering his partners!! if he doesn’t feel comfortable with disclosure to almost-strangers, then he shouldn’t be having one night stands. (or, he could arrange them online with other + guys.)

    positive attitude is the 2nd most important part of living with HIV, but SAFETY is the first.

    • BeirutBoy September 23, 2010 / 3:43 pm

      Thanks for ur feedback =)

      You can feel that his attitude and outlook are very optimistic.

      It would be very interesting to know whether or not most HIV+ ppl inform their one night stands about their health status.

  4. Danielle October 4, 2010 / 4:26 pm

    Wow. Kudos. Really. You have my support.

    As for the interview, I have to agree – he should be informing everyone he comes into sexual contact with. Accidents do happen, I think the person should have the right to choose!

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