April #46 : Back to Life, Back to Reality: Roy Mead - by Angelo Ragaza

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Table of Contents

L.A. Confidential

Fat Chance

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Ron Rosa

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Michelle Lopez


To the Editor

The Last Dance

Truth or DARE

Piece of Mind

Poster of the Month: Absolutely Not Enough

Hang a Right

Out in Africa

Mutual Disgust

8 Years to a Vaccine and Counting

Say What

POZarazzi: Shock Troops

High Time

POZ Picks


Back to Life, Back to Reality: Don Kao

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Roy Mead

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Linda Grinberg

The High Cost of Living

How to Make Art in an Epidemic

The Seven-Year Itch

Varsity Blues

A Woman Under the Influence

Integration Now

Get Over It

A Pocketful of Protein

Under-Celling PWAs

Brain Storm

Reefer Rap

Get Baked

All You Can Eat

Raging Hormones

Het Connect

Where to Find It

Frequent Flyer

April Showers . . .

Payback Time

From Fruits to Nuts

When Adam Met Eve

Aunt Evelyn's Letters

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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April 1999

Back to Life, Back to Reality: Roy Mead

by Angelo Ragaza

The New York Times calls it a “unique affliction,” a trauma matched only by death-camp survival. But for us, Lazarus Syndrome, named after the biblical figure Christ restored to the living, is just the price we have to pay for life in the protease era. POZ spoke with five PWAs about the long march back from death’s door.

Age 46
Home Atlanta
Occupation Retired from U.S. Forest Service
Tested Positive 1984

The Dying Game
I was told I was going to die so many times that I gave away everything I owned. I ran up a credit card debt, I sold two life insurance policies, I went to 34 countries in 12 months. I was stressed out and pissed off when protease inhibitors came out because I had finally accepted that I was going to die, and I had planned for it. And then my life came back to me. I call it the boomerang effect. Your life is gone, and then it’s back.

The Way He Lives Now
I’m now living in a small apartment on social security plus my civil service pension, and my income is one-fifth of what it was before. I eat at home, I don’t go on any trips.

When I go to my friend’s house, I see a torchiere lamp that used to be in my house. Another friend of mine has a baby who’s crawling now, and I gave them my rug for their family.

Another major difference: I have a lover, something really new. I never even dated before. For years I just tricked, because I certainly wasn’t going to ask anyone to make a commitment knowing I was going to get sick and die.

Let’s Talk About Sex
I’ve always been scared to death of giving HIV to anyone. My partner is negative, and we talked in bed before we got intimate. I said it won’t hurt my feelings if he’d rather not have sex. No expectations. So the first time, we lay beside each other and masturbated. Today, my viral load is undetectable, but we haven’t changed the way we have sex. We practice very safe sex—I have never penetrated him because of my fear.

Step by 12 Step
First I got sick. Then I got sober. Then I learned how to take care of myself. A lot of my friends I’ve stopped calling because they were drinking and using. This man is like nobody I’ve ever dated—honest, genuine. I’ve learned to trust him. I guess you could say I’m growing up.

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