· HIV+ people when on treatment have essentially the same life expectancy as HIV- people.
· When an HIV+ person is on medication, and it's working really well, the virus in their body is destroyed enough that there is nomeasurable trace of it in their bloodstream; this is called being undetectable.
· When one person who is HIV+ and is undetectable, and an HIV- person engage in on-going unprotected sex with each other, regardless of genders (straight, gay, lesbian and everything in-between), there have been NO recoded new infections to the HIV- people from their HIV+ partner over a 2 year span. Many reseachers now believe that there is neglible risk of infection.
· Legally in Canada, an HIV+ person does not need to disclose their status if they are undetectable and a condom is used.
· There are now more people in the world living with HIV than there are people in the country of Canada. A majority of them are straight people.
· Movies like The Dallas Buyer's Club and The Normal Heart are not accurate portrayals of what is happening right now.
· Almost all new people who are infected in North America go on a one pill a day regimen and have minimal to no side effects. Unfortunately other countries do not have the same access to medication.
After knowing all of this, thoughts to consider:
What if you found out that a person you are really attracted to was HIV+, would you still ask them out? Would you still sleep with them?
Any of the perceived thoughts, opinions, rationalized truths and ideas that come from this train of thought is personified in that HIV+ person.
What if they decided not to say anything and you never knew? What if the person, right now, whom you are dating is actually HIV+? What does it change about the relationship?
And asking those questions, which no one wants to ask, is where stigma, judgement and shame have a home. Congratulations, you are part of the problem. That's part of the reason why thousands of people, right here in the city of Toronto, live and struggle under a wall of silence. That same shame and judgement is also why 25% of all people infected in Canada do not actually know they are infected.
I have been POZ most of my adult life. I honestly do not care anymore what anyone else has to say. I am, however, concerned for the men and women I help and support who live in fear and hiding. I am concerned for the men I have dated who have been poz for a while, some as long as I have, but still live in secret because they are afraid.
We have more rights and freedoms in this country and this city than almost anywhere else that exists on this planet and yet thousands are living in hiding in Toronto hating themselves and trapped in a prison of shame.
Last night, I spent half an hour on the phone talking with a young man who was diagnosed in June. It is for him, and others like him, that I have written all of this. You are loved. And you are not alone.
If you need to talk to someone, feel free to message me on Facebook or you can e-mail: