Obtaining low cost HIV care as a closeted gay man
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) care has come a long way since the earliest days of the AIDs crisis. With appropriate early care many patients can live a long and happy life with few restrictions, as long as they maintain appropriate protocols around body fluids. With gay men particularly vulnerable to HIV due to the higher infections rates within the gay community and the mechanics of anal sex (with a higher risk of abrasions, tears, and subsequent mixing of fluid), an HIV diagnosis often brings up other social and medical issues.
Here are some issues to consider.
Low-cost HIV care is available
If funds are an issue there are many clinics and not for profit agencies that specialise in providing sexual health support to gay men. This includes employing appropriate and understanding staff who can provide low-cost access to medical help. The agencies can also offer useful specific advice such as safe sex techniques for gay HIV positive men which can help you to continue to have satisfying sexual contact with a partner. Many clinics also provide counselling for HIV-positive men and support groups, so that you can have some social and emotional support in what can be a tumultuous time.
You don't need to come out
If you are not ready to come out yet, this diagnosis does not need to force you to come out. HIV can be obtained through a number of ways including infected blood transfusions and using equipment that has been exposed to infected body fluids. It is important to let people around you know that you are HIV positive so that you can take appropriate precautions to ensure that they stay safe. They can also help to keep an eye on your condition, and give you emotional and practical support as you start your retroviral drug regime.
However, this could be a good time to have honest conversations
Many people do, however, find that an HIV diagnosis can be a prompt to have some honest conversations with people in their life, including coming out of the closet. Having this conversation can often be a great stress relief and can allow your friends and family to meet romantic partners. This can help you reduce stress and may help your family and partner work together effectively to streamline your HIV care.
If you suspect you may have HIV, early testing and medication can improve your expected life span and quality of life over the next few years. Isn't it time to get tested?