Our HIV crisis: What if?

Yale Daily News
Kyle Tramonte
Original Article:  bit.ly/1EOztdY

I would venture a guess that, for those who undergo routine STI testing, it is not uncommon to play the “What if” game — “What if I have an STI (be it gonorrhea, chlamydia, whatever)?”

The answer to that question is pretty simple for most sexually transmitted infections: You get on antibiotics for three to seven days, clear up the problem and hopefully learn a lesson regarding unsafe sexual practices. But for many men who have sex with men (MSM), the “What if” game includes the question “What if I am HIV positive?” A week’s worth of antibiotics certainly is not the answer.

Tyler Curry, senior editor at HIV Equal Online, confronted this reality when he unexpectedly received a positive diagnosis. “Trying to hide your status is like being in the closet again,” he told me. “Now, it was a much smaller closet to wrestle with given that the population of HIV-positive people is smaller, but it was still a new type of closet.” The problem with smaller spaces, though, is that they more frequently induce claustrophobia. A positive HIV diagnosis can be isolating.

Achieving viral suppression requires summoning the courage to get tested and then adhering rigorously to a prescription drug regimen for life. Imminent death is no longer the certain result of HIV. But while the virus has transitioned from “plague” status in the eighties and nineties to a chronic and manageable illness today, we as a society have struggled to catch up in terms of how we perceive the virus.

Full text of article available at link below:  bit.ly/1EOztdY