Finding out you are HIV positive isn’t easy. Just ask 30 year old Vancouver resident, Corey Ouellet. He found out three years ago that he was HIV positive. Thankfully for him it was a blessing in disguise, but for others it can be a troublesome time.
Thoughts of suicide are very common for people who learn they are HIV positive. Most communities now offer extensive programs to help people cope with living with HIV, providing valuable resources, councilors and assistance.
When a person finds out they are HIV positive they think back to the moments in life where they put themselves at risk to try to pinpoint the exact date, time and location of when they could have become infected.
“I have a good idea as to whom I contracted HIV from, but I do not hold them accountable,” said Corey. “Although they were at fault for not telling me, I feel I was just as much fault for having unprotected sex.”
Corey admits that in his past he was very sexually active and at times didn’t always use protection and engaged in high-risk activities.
“The best time to discuss STI and HIV status with a sexual partner is before you engage in sexual activity with them,” Corey explains.
Many people skirt around the topic of HIV status by asking questions, which can leave a lot to interpretation. Take these common questions for consideration:
- “Are you clean?” = Have you had a shower? Did you douche?
- “Are you safe” = Are you going to show up with a gun?
- “Have you been tested?” = Tested for what? Cocaine? Algebra? HIV in the last 10 years?
The best way to handle the question is to be direct and specific.
- What is your STI status?
- What is your HIV status?
- When were you last tested?
These questions should be asked before any sexual encounter with any sexual partner.
“I try not to hold anger inside for anything in life, this included,” Corey stated frankly and honestly. “I am scared of being alone, of not finding a partner that can accept that I have been diagnosed as HIV Positive.” For those that know Corey personally, he’s one of the sweetest guys and is certain to find a partner, regardless of his HIV status.
Knowing both your own and your partners sexual health status is important. If either partner does not know their current STI and HIV status, you are putting both parties at risk.
Know your HIV status and the questions to ask. Get tested and get tested often.