TWICE IN A LIFETIME
I am writing in response to your article “Double Positives” (August 2006), about the fear some HIV positive couples have about superinfection (contracting a second strain of HIV). The gay couple you mention says they are worried about superinfection, yet it sounds to me like they are not practicing safe sex. Or am I assuming too much? One thing is certain: We have become complacent in our views of this virus. I think this is so sad. Studies show that even though accidents can happen, using condoms is one of the most reliable tools against HIV infection. Still, a large majority of men just don’t want to use them. It doesn’t matter whether they are gay, straight or bisexual; black, Latino or white—they’re just not getting it.
As an HIV/AIDS counselor, I am excited to see the mentoring articles in POZ and the mentoring program you have started. About a year and a half ago, our group, Recovery Resources, in Cleveland, started a long-term survivors group. We already had a newly diagnosed support group, and it was becoming obvious that the group needed mentors. Now, our new mentors group meets with them regularly. We have groups on how to navigate the system, medications and side effects, how to get the most out of doctors visits and more. It’s great to see other mentoring programs like yours. I think many people assume that the newly diagnosed know what to do, but they don’t. It’s the mentorship and support of people living with the illness that pulled me through a really hard time after my husband was diagnosed and died in 1986, so these kinds of groups really hit home for me. Our mentors are so dedicated to making life easier for the members of the newly diagnosed group—they touch me every time we meet.
THE FEELING’S MUTUAL
I wanted to send a brief note to let you know how terrific POZ has been lately in both its editorial and art direction. I’m 36 years old, and I was diagnosed with HIV in May 2005 with a huge viral load and just 11 teensy CD4s. I was so sick that I was forced to leave my job. Since then, I have gone from “dying of AIDS” to “being with AIDS,” and I am now beginning to “live with AIDS.” I am so appreciative of the magazine. I look forward to each new issue of POZ for information and inspiration. Thank you for the direction that POZ is taking.