February 14th is known by all as Valentine Day, a day of love, care, and romance. It’s a time where people want to be close to that special someone and express their “feelings” with that person; even if it’s just for one night. But what if your partner decides to open up to you and tell you that they have AIDS. How would you feel? Would you be able to handle the shock and truth of this reality?!!
Well let’s say for argument sake, that you did stand behind your man and embrace him for all that he is. You would then fall into a category that we call in the HIV world known as “affected”. It’s not the same as someone who has the disease which is known as “infected” but the impact of this disease can have a life altering effect on you as well. Affected people aren’t just lovers of infected persons but could also be friends, family, or co-workers. As PROJECT: MALE continues to do its AIDS Awareness work, more and more men are becoming knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS. There is also an increased need to know one’s HIV status. So as we encourage folks to go out and get tested and possibly more and more positives are found, this also means an increase in the number of people who will become affected by this disease. My concern is from being in this field is that most of the services are geared toward those who are HIV positive but little to no resources are devoted to HIV negative or affected men; but thank goodness for PROJECT: MALE! This is one of the many voids that PROJECT: MALE is trying to fill in regards to the continuum of care for our community around HIV/AIDS. People with HIV/AIDS don’t live on islands and they are not free standing persons but they do belong to someone. Whether that is to a family, friends or some social unit, we are all connected. These people are part of our society and have an impact on all of us. If your family member or loved one has AIDS and you have to take care of him that can be a heavy burden. And for all those folks who have died of AIDS, they have left others behind who also need to be loved and cared for, especially children. So one can imagine how outraged I feel when people purposely allow themselves to become infected with HIV because they want to “bareback” because they don’t like the way condoms feel. Well my response to them is this, ask someone who is affected by AIDS how its feels to take care of a lover with AIDS or worst yet, to lose someone to AIDS. Trust me, to hear the testimonies of affected people is just as touching and some times gut wrenching as that of the stories of those who have AIDS because they had to watch their loved ones go through it. If you are an affected person who is struggling with fact that your man has AIDS, gives us a call here at PROJECT: MALE at (559) 268-1969 and we’ll be glad to help you through it.