I can see why some
gay people living with HIV would hide their status [“Bite the Bullet,”
August 2005]. I disclose freely, but I have felt more discrimination
from the gay community than I would from any Christian fundamentalist.
I try to persuade others to be more open about their status, but I feel
like I am fighting a losing battle. If you want an example, check out
the often cruel gay online profiles. “Disease-free seeks same,” “HIV
neg seeks same,” “Clean, you be too.” Since when did we become dirty?
If we cannot get compassion from our own community, what can we expect
from the rest?
persistent opposition to anal intercourse without a condom is not
“anti-PWA rhetoric,” as “Bite the Bullet” asserts. The fact that as a
journalist I have publicly opposed unsafe sex for 20 years does not
make me an opponent of people with HIV. It makes me an opponent of
spreading this disease.
New York City
the Bullet” falls into the very trap that it should point out when it
states that 5% of HIVers may be fueling most new infections. The vast
majority of new infections in the U.S. come from newly infected people
who do not know they have HIV and have unprotected sex when their viral
load is skyrocketing. It is much easier to blame those who do know
their positive status than it is to challenge the way we think about
HIV transmission and restructure prevention models to target the
untested. Most prevention efforts are still addressing the problem in
terms of either “you have it and you know it” or “you don’t have it at
all.” Most people who know they are living with HIV and what that
entails naturally would not wish it upon anyone else.
Thank you for “The Glove Comes Off in Mixed-Status Love” [August 2005]. I
have been HIV positive for over 15 years and recently got into a
committed relationship. Even after squeaky-safe sex, I am haunted by
thoughts that I could have done something to expose her. Sometimes she
goes down on me and swallows. We’re in love, and it can be easy to
think that beautiful expression is enough to keep you safe, but that is
a dream. Sorting out fact from fiction and the dream from reality is
all that any couple can try to do to be comfortable and safe. Your
article helped us to talk about things in more depth, face some fears
and ultimately to get closer—and that’s what it’s all about.
admire your sex columnist Dr. Perry Halkitis for his boldness in
advising serodiverse couples. He said it all when he wrote, “If you can
balance risk with desire for physical and emotional connection, you can
reach a mutually respectful conclusion” concerning unprotected sex. I
appreciate the information that researchers agree an undetectable viral
load makes a person less infectious. Also, you featured a POZ Personals
“Catch of the Month.” Well, I have found my “Catch of a Lifetime”
through POZ Personals. I am forever indebted to you.
Tennessee Colony, Texas
paragraph angles in “Bite the Bullet” are annoying and red type on gray
or blue backgrounds simply is not readable. I truly look forward to
receiving POZ but don’t want to have to turn the damn thing sideways to
read it. You don’t need these eye-catching distractions to get
attention. The disease and all the issues facing HIVers get your
readers’ attention. Save the gimmicks. Put out POZ for those of us who
are struggling every day to take our meds, learn the latest treatments,
fight adverse reactions and live in a politically charged society that
is ethically and morally fighting us at every turn.
want to thank you for your redesign of the magazine and website. The
site is considerably more useable and stylish, and the magazine
continues to lead the way in great design that increases the impact of
the messages and stories of the sheroes/heroes profiled. I use your
magazine in the desktop-publishing classes I teach, and my students are
also huge fans. Last, thank you for always giving a voice to HIVers who
would otherwise not be heard.
New York City