Easy Does It

I am a 41yo gay man, a very amateur photographer in recovery.

WHAT YOU MAY FIND HERE...

My Life, Living with HIV and Living Clean in New York City.


My Love Addiction Playlist from Spotify...

Posts regarding addiction (articles I have found; my opinions; my own experiences as a recovering addict)

Some funny, political, crazy, weird, interesting, and/or hot stuff I find around the internet or make up. This blog may contain content not suitable for viewing by minors (18 yrs+ only)


You can Click on the Tell Me Something link at the bottom of the screen to ask me a question or comment on my blog. You can Click on the Submit Something for My Blog link and hopefully I'll post it :-p

I welcome comments on any post... however this is not a forum to break your anonymity or someone else's.
Click Here to Donate

Flag Counter

Real Time Web Analytics

Search

Additional pages

Flickr Feed

Loading Flickr...

    More - Flickr

    Find me on...

    Posts I like

    More liked posts

    Tag Results

    22 posts tagged stigma

    The sum of us equals…

    image

    On Sunday, June 29, 2014, I got to March with HIV= in the NYC Pride March.  It was amazing to say the least; I had never Marched before.  I was really nervous for some reason when I arrived at the location where our group would meet; after a few members introduced themselves and I as given a tank-top to wear I quickly became a wallflower; speaking to anyone was difficult so I hid behind my camera or my mobile phone.  Isn’t it amazing how certain technological advances are meant ‘connect’ us really just help us more with isolating?

    A few more introductions and small talk with members and listening to instructions from our group leader didn’t really loosen me up at all; I wanted to run.  Then something happened…

    A man, an older gentleman with white hair, dressed in white and bejeweled with various pins feature rainbow colors.  This Sage asked me directly about HIV=.  I do not work for the organization however, I gave him this answer,  ”…HIV does not discrimination and neither should we…”  By the way, from moment he stepped up to me he had been using his point and shoot digital camera to record video of our conversation.  He was excited from my answer and expressed how he thought what we were doing was wonderful.  He then began to tell me that his best friend had died at the age of 32.  His friend had contracted HIV at 28 years and did not seek treatment; “He let himself go,” is how he explained.  Still pointing his camera directly at me he proceeded to tell me how his lover had also died from complications due to AIDS.  He began cry and his voice cracked and he wasn’t able to finish what he was saying.  I put my hand on his arm to comfort him.  He lowered his camera and began to step back and away.  I thanked him for sharing his story. In that moment I realized that this was not about me.  

    It’s about We.  You and me, You and I, Us.  It would be some hours later that our group would be Marching down Fifth Avenue following that lavender line, and I, with my camera, looking through the lens at so many of us living.  Living with pain, sorrow, heartache, happiness, illness, love, joy, hope.  Living with HIV.  

    This epidemic changed the way we love; it made some of us afraid to love. HIV itself does not tell you who you can love; it does not tell you to hate either; it will not tell you not to build a home or what neighborhood you can live in; it cannot tell you that you are less than or great than the person next to you; it does not know the color of your skin or how much money you have; it does not care about who you love. Society may try to impose some of these limitations on individual groups but HIV is all inclusive. This disease has touched so many lives; regardless of race, creed, religion, profession, gender identity, social standing, sexual preference, or HIV status we are all living with HIV.  

    What do we do?  Stand together, regardless of status.  Fight the stigma; educate our youth and all those who are misinformed about HIV and on how to prevent the spread of the virus; if you don’t know your HIV status, then get tested.  Don’t be afraid to ask a question.  Protect yourself!

    Together with compassion, education, perseverance, tolerance and love the sum of us equals LIFE.  A life where HIV/AIDS has been eradicated.  

    PS: I stopped being so nervous… HIV= leaders are an amazing bunch of men and women trying to bring on change for the lives of those living with HIV… that means All of Us [a global scale].   Through my lens I could so many people living with something and that’s OK… I don’t have to run and they don’t have to run from me.  Thank you Sage for showing me your heart and helping me see that we are all equal.

    HIV equal campaign… Photographed by my friend Thomas Evans

    Now, before we begin, you can go ahead and unravel that tight wad your panties have wound themselves into. This blog post is not intended to promote the transmission of HIV, and in no way is it meant to glamorize HIV/AIDS. Is it even possible to glamorize such an abysmal disease? I think not. But I have noticed that when an HIV-positive man takes a public stance without the “woe is me” pretense, that is the general dissent. Glamorizing HIV would be like trying to Photoshop a picture of the Holocaust: No matter how you manipulate it, the ugliness remains. However, I am not HIV itself, and it’s time that people who are HIV-positive stop wearing the face of the virus as if it were their own.

    Sometimes life can deal you a hand that can make you feel like you will never win. Being diagnosed with HIV is just one example. But unlike some other unfavorable traits that we carry in our deck, being HIV-positive can seem like the only card you have to play. READ MORE

    HUFFINGTON POST

    I am $200 away from reaching my Goal!!!

    Please support this cause by making a donation.  Thank you.

    AIDS WALK New York 2013

    (via Man_Your_Fashion)

    pozliving:

    Everyone has a “CD4 count” —the number of white blood cells in your body. Because this is what HIV attacks, it’s common for someone living with the virus to have a lower number than normal. The lower it is the weaker the immune system. A count below 200 is considered the final stage of HIV progression, known as AIDS. Taking daily A.R.V.s keeps counts high, immune systems strong, and hinders progression. Share this info! KNOW HIV=NO HIV

    via The Stigma Project

    January 4th - In Thought

    Word of the Day - Stigma

    The social stigma attached to being an addict may keep many of us from coming into recovery.  Today we have scientific proof that addiction is a treatable disease.  However, society still views those suffering from addictions as weak or that they have a moral deficiency.  Because of this we hide our problem from our loved ones and others we are in contact with; going into isolation as our disease progresses.  

    The stigmatized are often rejected by society.  Coming into recovery we gain new coping skills to deal with the rejection that often produces feelings of shame, guilt and low self-esteem.  We begin by actively listening to how other recovering addicts, that have had similar feelings of not fitting the mold of society’s ‘norm’, live their lives on life’s terms. We learn that we can not control how those who do not understand addictions feel about us but we can control how we react to being stigmatized.  Through self-honesty; admitting to ourselves that we suffer from the disease of addiction.  Empowering ourselves by accepting this and taking action to treat our chronic illness whether through self-help fellowships and/or professional mental health service we begin the work to free ourselves from active addiction; bringing us out of isolation and closer to being productive members of society.

    I am a recovering addict and what you think of me is none of my business."  

    We have many advocates in recovery that are helping to reduce stigma and increase treatment for those with addiction.  Your best advocate in recovery to reduce stigma is your own recovery by empowering yourself with the tools to keep you from returning to active addiction and finding a new way to live and helping others to do the same.  

    It will take time to and it will take work.  At first we may not see the change in ourselves but with continued work on our recovery; others will see the change in us.  We are not bad people trying to be good; we are sick people trying to well -  one day at a time.

    January 4th - Word of the Day - Stigma

    stig·ma

    [stig-muh]
    noun, pluralstig·ma·ta [stig-muh-tuh, stig-mah-tuh, -mat-uh]

    noun
    1. 
    a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.

    2. Medicine/Medical .
         a. 
    a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease: the stigmata of leprosy.
         b. 
    a place or point on the skin that bleeds during certain mental states, as in hysteria.

    3. Zoology .
         a. 
    a small mark, spot, or pore on an animal or organ.
         b. 
    the eyespot of a protozoan.
         c. 
    an entrance into the respiratory system of insects.
    4. Botany . the part of a pistil that receives the pollen.

    5. stigmata, marks resembling the wounds of the crucified body of Christ, said to be supernaturally impressed on the bodies of certain persons, especially nuns, tertiaries, and monastics.

    6. Archaic . a mark made by a branding iron on the skin of a criminal or slave.

    (via angelindiskies)

    pozliving:

    This is fucking insane too.

    by Um Ji-won, staff reporter

    It was a dream job. Back in October, Jeong Myeong-jin, 27, (not his real name) landed a job at a major corporate affiliate.

    But while the other successful candidates were rejoicing, he was very troubled. Before being hired on, he had to undergo a physical screening. The checkup form passed out at the designated hospital included a category for human immunodeficiency virus.

    Jeong is HIV-positive.

    “I had no idea they would do that kind of testing before hiring,” he recalled. “At the hospital, they told me the company insisted on it.”

    What the affiliate did was illegal. Article 8, Item 1 of the AIDS Prevention Act, enacted to protect the rights of HIV-positive individuals, states that those performing physical examinations may not notify anyone but the examinee of the test results. Those who violate the law are subject to up to one year in prison and a fine of up to 3 million won (US$2,770).

    On the advice of a lawyer, Jeong sent an anonymous statement of opinion to the hospital. The hospital was unaware that it was even illegal to tell a company the results of an individual’s physical screening. In the end, the affiliate conducted all examinations except for an HIV screening. Jeong passed, but his worries remain.

    “Even if I make it through one year, there are going to be workplace screenings,” he said. “Every time we have one, I’m going to have to worry about whether they’re going to find out I’m infected.”

    HIV-positive people are demanding guarantees on their right to work ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1. The HIV-positive population in South Korea nearly doubled between 2006 and 2011, rising from 4,500 to 8,500. More than half of these people are in their twenties or thirties - right when they are finding employment. But many are giving up on the possibility of a career and resigning themselves to poverty.

    Physical screenings for new and existing employees are the major stumbling block. HIV status is not part of the general health screening data that employers have to provide for their workers. It is typically included in hiring tests and workplace screenings only when the company demands it or the hospital offers it as a courtesy. Occasionally, this means that people find out about infections they never knew they had, and end up being summarily ejected from the company.

    While most of the public view AIDS as a fearsome contagion, its actual transmissibility is very low. The rate of transmission is on the order of one in a thousand even for unprotected intercourse. And with an 82.2% survival rate, HIV-positive individuals can work freely with regular treatment.

    “As treatment methods have developed, other countries have come to see AIDS as a manageable chronic ailment like high blood pressure or hepatitis,” explained Inha University Medical School professor Lee Hun-jae. “Its medical severity is roughly equivalent to diabetes. It poses no problem to working at a company.”

    According to Lee, company health procedures that “weed out” HIV-positive employees who are healthy enough to work are merely creating discrimination and stigma.

    “A,” 46, who until just a few years ago was working at a mid-sized company in Seoul, was summoned to human resources repeatedly after a regular workplace screening. Having learned that A was HIV-positive, the team said that the health screening “turned up something that is not suited to our work.”

    A quit, but had no family to depend on. Treatment costs come out A’s basic livelihood security benefits. The drugs are free for those on basic livelihood security, but once a person starts receiving benefits, the chance of returning to work slips farther out of reach.

    The number of HIV-positive beneficiaries like A rose from 962 to 1,210 in the three years between 2008 and 2011. They represent more than 14% of South Korea‘s HIV-population. For the past three years, the government’s annual budget to support HIV-positive individuals in finding jobs has remained stuck at 80 million won (US$73,800).

    Gwon Mi-ran of Nanuri Plus, an AIDS human rights advocacy group, said people with HIV end up stuck in a vicious cycle as long as society does not guarantee them the opportunity to work.

    “Guaranteeing the right to work is a minimal requirement for HIV-positive people whose lives and finances have hit rock bottom because of the social stigma,” she added.

    via TheHankyoreh

    Upsetting 

    littlesexfacts:

    Live neutral. End the stigma.

    HAPPY WORLD AIDS DAY 2012.


    Via The Stigma Project.

    (via gladpoz)

    People with HIV do not pose a significant risk to others!!

    January 4th - Word of the Day - Stigma

    stig·ma
    [stig-muh]
    noun, plural stig·ma·ta [stig-muh-tuh, stig-mah-tuh, -mat-uh]

    noun
    1. 
    a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.

    2. Medicine/Medical .
         a. 
    a mental or physical mark that is characteristic of a defect or disease: the stigmata of leprosy.
         b. 
    a place or point on the skin that bleeds during certain mental states, as in hysteria.

    3. Zoology .
         a. 
    a small mark, spot, or pore on an animal or organ.
         b. 
    the eyespot of a protozoan.
         c. 
    an entrance into the respiratory system of insects.
    4. Botany . the part of a pistil that receives the pollen.

    5. stigmata, marks resembling the wounds of the crucified body of Christ, said to be supernaturally impressed on the bodies of certain persons, especially nuns, tertiaries, and monastics.

    6. Archaic . a mark made by a branding iron on the skin of a criminal or slave.

    Christmas Date

    Twas the night before Christmas and though it was late, there was silence in the room – not a word from his date. For the news he had given brought out his worst fear, and all he could feel was the chill in the air.

    The gifts were wrapped gently beneath the adorned tree, but with the secret in his heart he could never be free. This time he knew he needed to connect, so he must trust this new guy and show him respect.

    Feeling vulnerable has never been natural for me, but the cost of these walls was easy to see. The word HIV still heavy on my lips opened a heart that needed to be fixed.

    To the shock and surprise of even his date, the words that he heard were “Thank you. I still think you’re great!”

    It does not discriminate!

    (via projectkiss)

    Loading posts...