It’s 00:50 and once again I can’t sleep.
My insomnia has kept me up for the best part of three days in a row now, my mind is tired, my body is exhausted and yet I still can’t sleep.
I go to the bathroom to top up my water glass and I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I look like death warmed up – my skin pale, bags under my eyes so big you could carry your shopping in them, and I’m breaking out in spots -my body has had enough but my HIV meds won’t let me sleep.
This has been going on for months upon months now, sleeping only three or four nights a week, the rest sat up trying to keep myself busy until it’s time to goto work. Sadly it’s become something of a routine – a routine that’s causing me to burn out.
I wish I could say that insomnia was the biggest of my concerns, but sadly it gets worse, over the last few weeks things have been going bump in the night. I’m hearing and seeing things that aren’t there. It started off as little things, a thud in the hallway, a shadow out the corner of my eye – but progressively they’re getting more and more significant – I’ve heard the front door being hammered only for no-one to be there, giant spiders on the ceiling, I’ve even seen myself sat in my desk chair.
I’m reasonably sure that it’s not a inherent problem with my mind, so much as the medication – the hallucinations only happen after I’ve taken my meds and on nights I can’t sleep. So I think it’s pretty reasonable to conclude that they’re side effects that I’d normally sleep through – but in my perma-awake state I have to endure. What I’m not sure, however, is why they’ve only started now – nearly 18 months after I started this combination therapy.
I’ve asked my doctors to change my HIV meds before based on my sleeping issues but they’ve told me to wait it out, I’m hoping when I see them on the 17th that they’ll take the news of hallucinations and even less sleep slightly more seriously. Either that or they’ll lock me up, and if they do I hope they have wine.
Good day to you fine men and women of the internets,
If you follow my blogs and tweets you may recall that last week I ran a interactive poll on my website asking whether you could date someone with a HIV status that was different to yours (i.e. if you’re HIV- could you date someone who was HIV+ and vice versa). Over 600 of you (628 to be precise) took part in the poll and here are the results and my musings there on.
Out of the 429 HIV negative people who voted 51% (232 votes) said that they could not date someone who was HIV positive, as opposed to 49% (227 votes) who said that they could. From the 169 HIV positive people who voted 26% (44 votes) opted to say that they could not date someone who was HIV negative, and 74% (125 votes) said that they could.
Let’s look at the HIV negative voters first. That’s quite an astonishing split, pretty much down the line 50/50. I don’t know about you but I find that more than a little disheartening. What that means to me personally is, if I approach someone I like I’ve got a 50% chance of being rejected based purely on something in my blood. That hardly seems fair. This I assume is based on people’s fear of contracting HIV from their prospective partners, but if said partner is on treatment and condoms are used the risk of infection is infinitesimal. To those people I’d recommend they do some reading (sites such as HIVaware.org.uk are very useful) and gain a decent understanding of the risks.
The majority of the HIV positive voters on the other hand, three quarters essentially, stated that they could date someone who was HIV negative, but a quarter said that they could not. Again, I guess this is people who are worried that they would pass on HIV to their HIV negative partner. As above, with treatment and precautions this risk can effectively be negated. It’s hard enough to find a decent partner in this life without limiting yourself to a pool of approx 100,000 people in the UK (0.16%) out of a population of 62,000,000.
I won’t deny that I’ve often thought it’d be easier to date someone HIV+, but with such a small selection of guys to choose from – especially in rural areas like mine, it seems somewhat self defeating. With treatments for HIV rapidly evolving a person diagnosed HIV+ today can expect a normal life expectancy and who knows what new medical breakthroughs are around the corner? So I ask you this, no matter what your HIV status, base your decision on whether to date someone or not on them as a person, not on what’s in their blood.
Have a wonderful Wednesday,
I don’t know how many of you have read the HPA (Health Protection Agency) 2011 report regarding HIV in the UK (link), I have – and it makes shocking reading.
In 2010 over 6,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the UK – 3,640 of them via sexual transmission. This is double the figure for 2001 which was 1,950. By the end of 2010 there were 91,500 people (estimated) living with HIV in the UK – a shocking 22,500 of these didn’t even know they were HIV positive. The total figure for people living with HIV in the UK is expected to pass 100,000 by the end of 2012.
Enough talking, it’s time for action. The NHS and various UK government departments (Department of Health & The Health Protection Agency) have been grossly negligent in their duty to keep the UK public informed and aware of HIV. Every day our screens are bombarded with campaigns for Cancer, Heart disease, Stroke, Lung disease, Smoking, Five-a-day, Exercise, Dementia, Mental Health – but when was the last time you saw a HIV advert? Not since the late 80s – that’s if you were even born then.
I’m calling on everyone to sign my Change.org petition http://is.gd/55w4A8 - demanding that the NHS and the Government run a HIV awareness campaign across the various medias (TV, Radio, Print, Web). We must must must stop the HIV infection rate rising - and only through education and a well thought out highly visible campaign can we do that.
PLEASE check out the petition page for more information, PLEASE sign it, and PLEASE share it with your friends, family and social networks.
This is just a quick poll, in two parts, to help me with a new post I’m writing.
If you could please fill in the appropriate poll honestly I would really appreciate it. All responses are anonymous.
Thank you in advance,
If you're HIV NEGATIVE, would you have a problem dating someone who was HIV positive?
- Yes, I couldn't date someone who was HIV positive (51%, 232 Votes)
- No, their HIV status doesn't matter to me. (49%, 227 Votes)
Total Voters: 459
If you're HIV POSITIVE, would you have a problem dating someone who was HIV negative?
- No, their HIV status doesn't matter to me. (74%, 125 Votes)
- Yes, I couldn't date someone who was HIV negative. (26%, 44 Votes)
Total Voters: 169
Good Rainy Friday to you all,
Before I start this post, I should say that this one isn’t teribbly HIV related, but more of a general life diary entry… now let’s begin.
I’ve been on online ‘dating’ sites for a very long time now, probably longer than I should have really, I joined a certain one when I was 13 and caused all sorts of havoc for the owners/admins – and since then the number of websites I’ve used has grown and grown until I couldn’t keep track of them.
I’d get home of an evening and check my twitter and Facebook, then I’d head onto gaydar, dudesnude, fitlads, manhunt, gayromeo, recon, and a few others which I can’t even remember. I’ve been doing this for nearly 3 years now and where has it got me? Nowhere really. I’ve dated three guys, one of which was an ass and two of which were bat crap crazy.
So last week I took the decision to leave all these sites behind, it was both therapeutic and a little scary logging onto each site one by one and deleting my profiles – some I’ve even been paying for. Shortly after I’d done away with my last profile I began to worry about what I’d just done, had I put myself at a disadvantage for finding someone special? But then I recalled the general quality of messages of I got on these sites – usually photos of people’s crotches but no faces, or elderly gentlemen offering to be “generous” to me. That’s not really the kind of attention I’m after.
During Birmingham Pride (at the weekend) I met an awesome guy, and we hit it off pretty spectacularly. This without the use of the internet, or being asked “what you upto?”, or ”what you into?” or even the less common but still awful “ASL?”. Now before you get ahead of yourself, I don’t know if anything is going to happen with this guy I met over Pride, but I’m secretly hoping it does – he’s very hot and very very lovely.
I feel for honestly and completeness I should say that I’ve retained my Grindr profile, purely because it’s a great way to chat to my mates for free, and it’s a laugh at train stations when you’re bored.
I’m not entirely sure what to use my computer for now I don’t log on to all those sites, I’m sure I’ll find a purpose though – it makes a rather handy mirror with the webcam…
Just a quick post here to let you know that my interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, broadcast at 9pm on Sunday evening, is now available on BBC iPlayer. Just look for ‘Men’s Hour’ or follow this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01jgkdn/Mens_Hour_03_06_2012/
In it I talk about my experience with HIV so far, how and when I was infected, and what’s changed in my life since.
I hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think…
Over and out!
I hope you’re all enjoying this sunny Friday afternoon, I know I am. Sat out in the park with my iPad writing this blog post.
But then that’s not the only thing I’m writing at the moment, oh no. For my regular readers and those who follow me on Twitter you’ve probably seen me hinting (rather unsubtly) at some upcoming magazine work. Well yesterday afternoon I finally nailed down the particulars and I’m happy to announce that you can now to keep up with me on twitter, on my blog and from the end of May… at Attitude Magazine.
That’s right boys and girls. I’m going to have a monthly column in Britain’s biggest selling gay magazine, starting in their famous and incredibly hot ‘Naked Issue’ – out at the end of May (pictured is last year’s Naked Issue).
I’ve been in talks with the Editor Matthew Todd (Stonewall journalist of the year, British Society of Magazine Editors’ Men’s Magazine Editor of the year) for the past couple of months, and I’m going to be using my column to show the gay men of Britain what life is really like with HIV.
Much like this blog I’ll be writing about the ups, downs, how people have made me feel, how I’m feeling in myself, how my treatment is going – and there’ll even be the odd interview thrown in here and there!
It’s not quite possible to put into words how overwhelmed and excited I am about this new project, but I promise to do you all proud – and make sure you all buy a copy of my first (double length) column, where I’ll be talking about my life with HIV to date. And for you tech-aficionados out there you can now get Attitude Magazine direct to your iPad with videos and everything!