December #140 : Northern Disclosure - by Jon Benorden

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Table of Contents

Precious Stone

More Than Just a Number

Dodging Danger

Northern Disclosure

Ask For It By Name

Learning Latex

Yule Love ’Em

Catch of the Month

Cash Therapy

A Wealth of Trouble

Think Inside the Box

Baby Bonus

New Resistance Fighters

African in America

Windy City Blues

Unfine China

It’s a Wrap

Hot Dates-December 2007

Wake Up, India

Survey Says...

Clean Sweep

Look Elsewhere

Yesterday Once More

A Day Without “Day Without Art”

Medicine Man

Suspicious Minds

Editor's Letter-December 2007

Mailbox-December 2007

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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December 2007

Northern Disclosure

by Jon Benorden

For this Alaskan, there’s something fishy going on.

Growing up in Alaska was a little boy’s dream. Fishing! Hiking! Exploring! Every summer Friday, I looked forward to coming home from school and seeing my parents loading up the camper.

My prized possession was my Charlie Brown fishing pole. I was only 7, but I always felt like I was going to catch the hugest fish Alaska had ever seen. I remember standing on the beautiful Kenai River and snagging a salmon that seemed so much bigger than me. I kept asking Dad to help reel it in, but he said, “You’re a big boy. You can bring it in yourself.” After about 45 minutes of pulling the monster to land, I felt like I was Superman. Propelled by that energy, I eventually left my home state, but my superhero mentality stayed with me. Until, that is, I was diagnosed with HIV at 28. Then I felt I had lost my strength and purpose.

The only solution: move back to Alaska. The moment I cast out my fishing line and got another view of that majestic river, I felt like a kid again—like I had regained my powers. But now I had a new monster to conquer: HIV. Luckily my fishing gear was still waiting for me by the door every Friday, ready for the Kenai River.

Whenever I leave Alaska and travel down to the lower 48, I get excited about telling people where I’m from. Their eyes open wide and their next words are usually “Wow, you live there?” I say yes—and then add: “And I have HIV.”

Other Americans see Alaskans as being so different from them. But we all live in the same country, and some of us are part of the same national—make that universal—experience of living with HIV. We swim in the same stream. And our determination is catching.                               

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  comments 1 - 15 (of 18 total)     next > >>

Gary P, Sacramento, 2008-05-23 12:52:30
It is a true pleasure working with such a professional. He has in a matter of a few months got our Community ontrack. This works 10 hour days. We recently had a HRSA site visit, no problems. Sacramento HIV Community is truly blessed.

Don Benorden, San Francisco, 2008-01-28 00:30:51
I too like Jon lived for thoes Weekends in Alaska..... I am Jons twin brother and like Jon I am Gay and also Poz... I been poz for 1 1/2 year now and hope like Jon has overcome and live through this stage of my life.... Don

Glen, Sacramento, 2007-12-22 15:10:40
The community of Sacramento is blessed to have Jon here now! We know we'll make a impact here as he did in Alaska! Love ya Jon!

CuriousKitten, San Francisco, CA, 2007-12-22 13:19:47
Jon, I loved your article. I hope you do more writing in the future! Smooches, CK

2plantguys, Oakland, 2007-12-22 00:17:20
Hey Jon, We still remember you at QuFo. We're proud of you, man! Take Care!

NotOnMySleeve, San Diego, 2007-12-21 18:19:12
As an HIV activist, I commend Jon, he sounds like a great guy. However, many folks can’t be open and should never feel bad about it. If someone asks me in a public venue, I say a person’s status is not for casual review unless they choose. You could be forcing someone to expose their status to all or to lie in public. If it’s about sex, I say to assume I’m POZ, as I will assume he and every sex partner is poz even if he tells me he’s NEG and act accordingly in a consistent manner.

Tommy Positive, Montgomery, AL, 2007-12-21 15:12:25
Thank you for the that very inspirational story. I have been positive since 1991 and I was only 26 at the time of my diagnosis. Your story reminded me the the times that I went fishing with my grandfather, I had'nt thought about that in years. You made me smile today, Thanks!

brandon, Old Orchard Beach, 2007-12-21 00:24:20
I would love to read more about this story of the guy from Alaska from this POZ edition. I don't think I have this copy and it is interesting to me since I have been POZ since age 20.

Allen, Minneapolis, 2007-12-20 18:10:33
Jon is a great guy and a great friend. I am so proud to have him in my life.

Liz Kiago, Nairobi, 2007-12-20 01:39:07
A beautiful story. It brings out his joy of living and his determination so well. It gladdens my heart.

MOM B, VIRGINIA Beach,VA., 2007-12-19 22:18:13

Mr. Teacher Man, Washington, DC, 2007-12-19 20:51:28
I think that is great. I grew up in Minnesota and have been doing a lot of "going back and enjoying life again activities" like fishing, hiking, making snow forts (although DC definitely does not have enough snow!) and camping... Nature is a very powerful outlet. Green is Good!

Kate R., Philadelphia,PA, 2007-12-19 13:40:54
I've been lucky to call Jon a friend for the past three years and he continues to amaze and inspire me with his strength, compassion, and determination. I'm glad he's been able to share his story with the POZ community!

Michael Jentes, Sacramento, 2007-12-19 09:59:20
John now lives here in Sacramento and has brought his wealth of information surrounding Hiv/Aids advocacy with him. I met him the other day and was very impressed.

howard, moline, 2007-12-18 18:40:00
Wonderful story, I just rediscovered my inner child feelings through Mountain Biking. Godspeed, Aero

comments 1 - 15 (of 18 total)     next > >>

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