Helping an HIV poz friend

Discussion in 'Sexual Health' started by Cherea, May 6, 2013.

  1. Cherea

    Cherea Senior Member

    One of the best friends I've ever had in life was diagnosed about 3 months ago. He works like a dog and his employer doesn't provide insurance. I am the only one who knows.

    Today was the first time I had to help him with something concrete. I referred him to a health center in New York where they do sliding scale treatment and where they have several HIV specialists on staff.

    My friend is too self-conscious to skype with me, right now. His immune system has gotten really low, and he's got shingles on his face. I asked him if I could visit him, and he said he'd like to see me before he dies. Not that that's happening any time soon, he's just beginning treatment...

    Anyway, I'd like to know if any of you have had experience being a close friend to an HIV+ person.

    Please share. :)
  2. drumminmama

    drumminmama Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Ugh. My best to your friend. Sounds like the stress of the diagnosis triggered the shingles. And shingles are a special hell.

    Keep encouraging treatment. My first experience with a positive friend was in the days when it was an automatic and quick death sentence. He lived about six years, and was considered long lived at the time.(87/88)

    So, my POV will be from the helping the dying have some dignity. It helped when another friend spent his last five years with ALS.
    Is that helpful for you now? Or do you need more of a "get your friend fired up to advocate for himself?"
  3. RooRshack

    RooRshack On Sabbatical

    I don't know anyone with HIV. Never have.

    I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can live pretty much as long as you keep on top of it and take care of yourself, nowadays. Obviously, it's pretty horrible, but won't just kill you right off like that.

    Then again, if he's got visible symptoms, he could have had it for years, and be pretty bad, I guess. He needs to go ASAP, not wait more months, or anything.

    He can't be refused health insurance now, remember? Even if he doesn't get it as a benefit, he can get it. He may have to change his work life, to put less stress on his body.
  4. Alternative_Thinker

    Alternative_Thinker Darth Mysterious

    Not a close friend, but I have a friend who was diagnosed in four years ago. He was actually in the movie industry before, but he ended up having to retire from that after he found out about his situation.

    He and I actually ran into each other one summer while I was visiting my hometown. We were both walking, he up the street and I down the same street on the same side. I didn't recognize him at first because he was wearing a big sunglasses, plus he was much thinner than I remembered. I just thought it was someone who looked like him rather than, well, himself. But he stopped and called out my name, and we were like "hey!" When I expressed my concern in regards to his weight loss, he just started venting.

    Turns out, he was partying one night and met a guy. They decided to chill with a bottle of booze(I forget what they were drinking) back at the guy's place. My friend, I guess, just assumed it would just be two guys chillin'. But this scumbag slipped something in my friend's drink and raped him. He obviously went to the cops afterward to report on the situation. I hope they caught the guy, because if he did that to my friend, there might be more victims.

    Anyway, he began treatment and he's doing much better these days! He says even the doctors are pleasantly surprised by how well he's doing considering his situation. He briefly retired from his other passions in life too, but he's now back into them as well. He isn't as thin as he used to be, either. It's unfortunate that he can't get back into the movie business, but it's just physically too demanding for him. I mean, he still is HIV positive, and he DOES get exhausted very very easily. But at least he maintains a positive outlook on life generally speaking, so that's good.

    All the best to your friend!
  5. Cherea

    Cherea Senior Member

    Yes, my friend doesn't have energy to do much of anything after work. The medication itself makes you pass out for days on end, I hear.

    I know a prostitute who contracted HIV by being raped, too. She was raped by a felon, and I was told lots of them have HIV due to prison rape. Or, so the story goes!

  6. drumminmama

    drumminmama Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Which meds, Cherea?
    Anti virals for shingles? Or is your friend on an AIDS cocktail or other regimen?

    There is a vast difference between HIV+ and AIDS and how they both affect quality of life.

    What about a night in?
  7. calgirl

    calgirl Senior Member

    My mother is a public health nurse, and oversaw AIDS case management for the county. She was able to lead many AIDs pos patients to county services. I'm sure NY has similar.
  8. monkjr

    monkjr Senior Member

    My heart goes out to your friend. The situation he found himself in is a big reason I watch my drink like a hawk at parties. If I took my eyes off of it I for even a second I have to toss it.

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