We know that some drug combinations and the disease itself can alter our appearance, which in turn can wreck our self-esteem. The media’s fascination with perfection doesn’t boost any egos either. POZ asked you for advice on how to feel good about yourself, flaws and all.
Brenda Lee Curry
Diagnosed in 1985
Many of us had low self-esteem issues before being diagnosed. So yes, now our bodies are changing—your breasts may be too big, your face may not look the way it used to, or your stomach may be large—but the most important thing is that you are living and working to enjoy the rest of your life. If you concentrate on the flaws, then you are right back where you started.
Diagnosed in 1993
If you decide to get a cosmetic procedure, do it for yourself. Yes, I am single, and I’d love to be in a long-term relationship—or at least have a few dates now and then—but the fact of the matter is my self-esteem was non-existent. I was so proud of my new face that I posted the before and after shots on Facebook. What I have learned is that AIDS is just another obstacle in life, but it doesn’t define me.
Diagnosed in 1988
Be happy with who you are, express yourself and don’t give a f*** what others think. In our body-conscious society, especially gay men and youth, people with HIV should focus on their survival, which should eventually boost their self-esteem. Good looks manifest in what you project outward. Isn’t that what your grandmothers taught you?
Read more on this topic:
Change of Face: Should Government Pay for Lipoatrophy Treatment?