"But you don't look sick . . . "

  • camofchris

    Posts: 73

    Aug 29, 2010 2:55 PM GMT
    I'm up front about my status when I need to be. That said, this statement, no matter how many times I hear it, amazes me: "But you don't look sick."

    It's as if some HIV- folks assume that someone's HIV+ if they "look" sick. And if they don't look sick, they must be negative? Really?!

    I take care of myself and have been fortunate to avoid some of the visible side-effects of meds. This statement feels like a back-handed compliment, filled with total ignorance.

    Anyone else hear this one? And how do you respond?

    Cam
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    Aug 29, 2010 4:54 PM GMT
    I'm not positive, but I can see how that would get old. Its insensitive. You have great legs btw icon_surprised.gif
  • denverdev

    Posts: 82

    Aug 29, 2010 5:02 PM GMT
    People are jackass-coated jackasses with creamy jackass filling, and obviously how you look on the outside directly portends what goes on inside of you. That's why I have a giant neon sign pointing to my lacks of spleen and gall bladder floating next to me. As well as one above my head that says "gay."
    But back to my original point; people are jackasses.
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    Aug 29, 2010 5:12 PM GMT
    We have a number of poz friends, and run into poz guys here all the time, though obviously not a usual topic for discussion unless they raise it themselves, and certainly not for our inquiry. The LAST thing I would volunteer is "Hey, you look great!" as if to imply that's surprising or not to be expected. And I can't recall ever hearing that said by someone else to a guy with HIV.

    And to be quite frank, ALL the guys we know with HIV look so fit & healthy you certainly could never tell they are poz by appearance, and as a consequence, aided by my poor memory, I never remember who's poz and who isn't. Which suits me just fine.

    In fact, if I do see someone whose appearance suggests illness, what says it has to be HIV? It could be a dozen different things. I work with the HIV community, and I reject the concept of an HIV "look." Yeah, someone may look unhealthy, but it could be due to almost anything. That's the kind of prejudice we need to reject within the gay community.
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    Aug 29, 2010 5:28 PM GMT
    I assume we're talking about HIV status here? I went to your profile to confirm if you were HIV+, and that portion has been left blank.

    If you're HIV+, I would think that part of the reason you take care of yourself, is to avoid looking, and feeling sick. Someone saying they're surprised by the way you look should be like... a double compliment.

    Maybe I'm just too optimistic.
  • mybud

    Posts: 11837

    Aug 29, 2010 5:31 PM GMT
    Brah.... some see HIV as a death sentence...they know nothing about the disease....they live in fear....they have no clue about the medical advances that have been made to promote health.....Personally I like the statement.....I'm living on HIV.....it puts a positive spin on it.....I have no idea what you deal with from people on a daily basis....I'll just say...sincerely baby you'll be in my positive thoughts for your continued good health and positive mind set....BUD
  • camofchris

    Posts: 73

    Aug 29, 2010 7:41 PM GMT
    @ Kentucky -- I take the compliment. And advise not everyone with HIV necessarily looks sick (which really spooks 'em sometimes). Working out keeps me out of trouble and things running a little better. Looking fit is a good byproduct. I don't post my status, because it's irrelevant for folks to know.

    @mybud -- True about viewing it as a death sentence. We were sentenced to death at birth . . . we just pick (or it picks us) how we go.

    I like how you both focused on the statement as complimentary instead of focusing on the negative aspect. Cool.

    Cam
  • camofchris

    Posts: 73

    Aug 29, 2010 7:42 PM GMT
    BlackLabSD saidI'm not positive, but I can see how that would get old. Its insensitive. You have great legs btw icon_surprised.gif


    haha -- Thank you. :-)
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    Aug 29, 2010 7:50 PM GMT
    All you hear is horror stories and see how ppl are negatively portrayed with HIV in the media it's easy to see how someone who i educated by television can be led astray. I'm sure for every one person you meet who say that there can be up to 100 or 200 more.

    I suppose being patient is the best practice and informing those ppl that HIV+ ppl can lead normal healthy lives.
  • Geoedward

    Posts: 657

    Aug 29, 2010 7:54 PM GMT
    camofchris,
    I have heard this for years and it still amazes me. Most of the time I just laugh at the person saying it. A lot of people are still uneducated when it comes to HIV. When I do hear this I take it as an opportunity to talk to them about it. It has been a little over 27 years since I was diagnosed. I have never been sick. Nothing about me has changed. I still have a couple sisters that keep saying are you sure you are HIV+? You are so healthy and you look great. I simply explain to them that I used my diagnoses as a wake up call. I stopped doing drugs, drinking everyday and smoking 2 and 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day. I now take vitamins, eat right most days, and exercise. I take care of myself. This is the only change that has happened to me.
    I just sit them down and we hav a long tlak about HIV.
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    Aug 29, 2010 8:04 PM GMT
    Geoedward saidcamofchris,
    I have heard this for years and it still amazes me. Most of the time I just laugh at the person saying it. A lot of people are still uneducated when it comes to HIV. When I do hear this I take it as an opportunity to talk to them about it. It has been a little over 27 years since I was diagnosed. I have never been sick. Nothing about me has changed. I still have a couple sisters that keep saying are you sure you are HIV+? You are so healthy and you look great. I simply explain to them that I used my diagnoses as a wake up call. I stopped doing drugs, drinking everyday and smoking 2 and 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day. I now take vitamins, eat right most days, and exercise. I take care of myself. This is the only change that has happened to me.
    I just sit them down and we hav a long tlak about HIV.


    An epiphany.
    (a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something. a moment of revelation and insight.)

    Awesome.
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    Aug 29, 2010 8:12 PM GMT
    CamofChris said
    BlackLabSD saidI'm not positive, but I can see how that would get old. Its insensitive. You have great legs btw icon_surprised.gif


    haha -- Thank you. :-)


    I was thinking the same thing... this guy has some WHEELS!
  • camofchris

    Posts: 73

    Aug 29, 2010 8:16 PM GMT
    @ sdgman Will be in your neck of the woods Halloween weekend to run my first marathon, which takes good wheels. :-)
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    Aug 29, 2010 8:22 PM GMT
    Give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they just woke up out of a coma they've been in since 1983.
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    Aug 29, 2010 8:40 PM GMT
    thats a dumb comment,

    there is alot of ppl who look sick but turns out there just vegans..

    anyone else remember that guy in florida who made news for infecting as many ppl as he could and he was like super hot?

    just saying...
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    Aug 29, 2010 8:46 PM GMT
    waxon saidthats a dumb comment,

    there is alot of ppl who look sick but turns out there just vegans..

    anyone else remember that guy in florida who made news for infecting as many ppl as he could and he was like super hot?

    just saying...


    I don't recall this how long ago was it?
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    Aug 29, 2010 8:50 PM GMT
    Ricovelas said
    waxon saidthats a dumb comment,

    there is alot of ppl who look sick but turns out there just vegans..

    anyone else remember that guy in florida who made news for infecting as many ppl as he could and he was like super hot?

    just saying...


    I don't recall this how long ago was it?


    it wasnt too long ago, maybe it wasnt florida, but this guy who was like friggin built huge and abercrombie stud went around having sex with guys saying he didnt use condoms and stuff saying he was clean and then he got caught doing it... ill see if i can find an article with his picture
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    Aug 29, 2010 8:56 PM GMT
    TheFreeman saidPeople are jackass-coated jackasses with creamy jackass filling, and obviously how you look on the outside directly portends what goes on inside of you. That's why I have a giant neon sign pointing to my lacks of spleen and gall bladder floating next to me. As well as one above my head that says "gay."
    But back to my original point; people are jackasses.


    I see the sign. But where are the surgical scars?icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 29, 2010 9:07 PM GMT
    ...but you don't LOOK gay!.... But you don't LOOK black, or oriental, or native American, or wealthy or poor, or educated or illiterate or sick or liberal or conservative or religious or whatever....people are ignorant and sometimes all too willing to publicly voice and display that ignorance....sometimes all you can do is laugh, shake your head and say "yeah, I know...Thanks".....it is sad......and frustrating......icon_rolleyes.gif
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Aug 29, 2010 9:11 PM GMT
    Let's face it, with the advent of the HIV anti-retroviral cocktail, ignorance has grown about HIV and AIDS again, now that those who are positive don't have the wasting symptoms or KS legions that used to mark them, they look just like everyone else. Not enough is being done to educate people.

    But, you do look really good.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Aug 30, 2010 6:02 PM GMT
    EricLA saidLet's face it, with the advent of the HIV anti-retroviral cocktail, ignorance has grown about HIV and AIDS again, now that those who are positive don't have the wasting symptoms or KS legions that used to mark them, they look just like everyone else. Not enough is being done to educate people.

    But, you do look really good.


    Agreed and like any virus it will mutate and current meds might no longer work. ( this is NOT the sky is falling thinking if you dissagree read up on viral biology) I think the worse thing a person can due is lie about their status. The other person has a right to know and make up their own mind.

    Also IMO men who are positive and continue to engage in bareback sex have no care or respect for others and future generations. This type of behavior will only speed up the mutation process-Very selfish act.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 01, 2010 6:53 AM GMT
    People usually don't say "But, you don't look sick" to me when I disclose my status as a man living with HIV for the past 26 years.
    (Kudos to you @Geoedward! You've got me beat by a year. I don't meet many folks poz longer than myself)
    I don't look sick because I am not sick. I'm in the best shape of my life, better than when I was in my 20's or 30's.

    People do say things like, "Wow! You look fantastic, buff, and cut!", "What can I do to look like you?" and "Would you like to fuck me?"

    But, because these are the straight boys, I do have to demure. Otherwise we won't have any young fags in the pipeline. Also, gay guys are (from my experience) generally better in bed, and kiss better.

    My 30 year high school reunion is coming up in 2012. I'm so stoked because I see just how everybody else looks in my graduating class thanks to social media.