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The Increasingly Strange Case of Uncle Poodle

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10 Comments

Steve

Unlike the majority of gay men, I blame no other person for my infection other than my own stupidity. Yes the other guy should have informed me if he knew he was infected. But at the same time I should not have been having unprotected sex with strangers either.

March 8, 2013

n

I'm not in the States or a gay man & I have no idea who Uncle Poodle is, but I applaud the author for the themes raised in this article. I have been positive since 2005 & I know exactly who I contracted the virus from (note my choice of words). Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who says "yes, I made a mistake, I took somebody at their word when really I knew (like everyone else does) that the only way I could truly be 100% sure that I was protecting myself was by using a condom". Sure, there are shades of grey in many infection stories but my mental health is far, far better since I (very quickly) decided that there was no use crying over spilt milk, we're all adults, and that the best thing to do was to try to move on, whilst trying to ensure that the same thing did not happen to anyone else. Briefly, my own story is that I got back with my ex (who I knew had been somewhat promiscuous, and I did have unprotected sex with him after having had a discussion where he assured me that he had a full clean bill of health as far as stds were concerned. Then I got really ill, and the rest is history... There is evidence that my ex had been told by another girl that she had tested positive and must have contracted from him, and for a while I went through mental torture thinking that he had known he was positive and he had lied & deliberately infected me. The best decision I ever made was (a) to decide that he had clearly for whatever reason not accepted what the girl had told him, and (b) therefore did not believe he was positive, and (c) that my priority was to deal with my status and to ensure that he dealt with his too in order that he accepted that he was positive and started getting treatment so that he got healthy and that this did not happen to anyone else. I'm not saying that he did absolutely nothing wrong, but always blaming the positive person and casting the situation as black & white, guilty & innocent, does no-one any favours and just adds to the stigma and makes people more likely to go into denial or feel that they can't disclose. The "it's not my fault it's person X's fault" thing just doesn't work because person X probably didn't go out looking to end up in their situation either. Obviously if my ex had point blank refused to believe me (and the doctors) then they may have had to try another tack, but by outlining the situation to him in a non-accusatory supportive way which showed sensitivity to his own feelings of shock & grief too it was possible to get him to accept his situation. I think that I forgave him sooner than he forgave himself. (I'm still not sure I've really forgiven myself for my status but that's another story). Basically it comes down to hypocritical judgements about people having had sex. Would you believe people who are sat there "accidentally" pregnant or waiting for their chlamydia medication look down on me as if I did something different to them! Same act, different outcome. Waaay different situation. Stigma. There's nothing like it. It's huge. I guess what I'm trying to say is yes, there are some cases where someone has pathologically & systematically lied & deliberately infected another person, but the vast majority of cases are just not that black and white, and while the majority of poz people say 'it stops with me' and act accordingly, I for one am sick and tired of negative people thinking that they get a free pass from taking any responsibility at all for their own sexual health. You know the risks. Take responsibility. Before, during, and after. (And if you end up in my situation, then forgive yourself. And the person you contracted from. Note: "the person who you contracted from", not "the person who gave it to you". The phrasing makes a big difference. I contracted. He didn't give it to me. Taking responsibility for my part, see. Most times this phrasing is the correct phrasing for the transmission if you are truly honest with yourself.) Sorry, bit of an essay, hope it makes sense!

March 4, 2013

Duncan Cox

KNOWINGLY INFECTING SOMEONE IS RAPE!!!

February 28, 2013

Patricia

Wow Jerry,it's all black and white with you, isn't it? Nothing is ever that simple, "I was not safe with my body". I made a choice, we make choices for reasons. If it was a matter of simply being safe with my body then why do we still have this damn virus? Cause we are HUMAN and we maybe have some stuff going on.Cause it is OK to have sex but not OK to talk about it!Cause I think way down deep I don't believe I am worth protecting. So ease up a little and I sure hope you are able to muster up just the slightest bit of empathy and understanding for the folks who come through your doors, cause that's all we humans ever really want; some acceptance and caring.

February 28, 2013

Patricia Clark

Wow Dave, so much anger directed at Jerry, the non-profit employee. You are hurting big time and you did place your trust in someone, someone who let you down in a major way. But why would what he said make you want to stop treatment? You are responsible for your health now and then. You made a bad choice back then, its a part of being human. Now you have the choice to be in treatment and live with this disease and to live well. Living well may mean you forgive and let go of the rage. I made a bad choice too, 21 years ago. But when I went into the non-profit that is he only AIDS Service Organization around, I found safety, sanity and acceptance. Out in the real world I was still partying and making bad choices. But inside their walls, I could say out loud "I'm living with HIV" with no shame or judgement. You are young and I hope you are able to find a place like this in which to feel the same caring and support. By the way, this is where I now work and I can say after all these years and all the changes in this disease, it saddens me that we still have to have these conversations.

February 28, 2013

Dave

Really man are you serious , I was in a relationship for 6 months and my partner never disclosed he said he had cancer to explain all of his doc apts mess and such I was 18 no I'm not perfect but how dare you say that this was my fault for trusting the wrong person maybe if there weren't a**holes like you in the world more people would feel more comfortable at your clinics instead of like trash thanx for making me wanna stop treatment ... I wouldn't wish pain and sickness on anyone but your def gonna get your karma

February 28, 2013

Elzie Cunningham

I to feel as though everyone seems to need someone else to blame for what ever it is that's happened to them HIV or poor tastes in clothing,regardless step up and accept responsibility for your self, and support your friends and love ones, why is everyone asking how did it happen , instead of how can I help you!!! By the way uncle poodle your a cutie if your ever in Kansas look me up:)

February 28, 2013

Jerry

I work at an HIV/AIDS, non-profit organization and I hear this same tale everyday. It's always the ex. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this story, over and over and over. My feelings are, take resposibilty for yourself, stop blaming others. If you come up poz then it's on you. You were not safe with your body, that's it.

February 26, 2013

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