The last post received this anonymous comment:
“HIV and Dying of AIDS is not intensly pleasurable or beautiful. You got insurance? your going to need it…don’t forget lots of diareah and wasting away to disfigurement…but go ahead and have this “beautiful” sexual experience. Hey Try some heroin while your at it.“
There’s a confusion here between description and advice. Speaking honestly about a pleasurable activity is not the same as recommending it. It’s up to us to make informed choices of our own.
To answer the points about HIV and AIDs:
“Wasting away to disfigurement” presumably refers to lipodystrophy: body-fat changes including fat-loss from the face and buttocks. This isn’t a symptom of HIV or AIDs. It’s a side-effect of drugs used to treat the virus (AZT and d4T). Fortunately, newer HIV drugs have been developed without this side-effect (efavirenz, tenofovir, abacovir, etc). For this reason AZT and d4T are no longer recommended to people starting HIV treatment.
Diarrhea is a possible side-effect of some HIV drugs, but it doesn’t effect everyone and often only occurs during the first few weeks or months of treatment. Diarrhea caused by HIV drugs can be treated with ordinary tablets (loperimide, Imodium) available at pharmacies.
The aim of current HIV treatment is to reduce the viral load to “undetectable” and prevent AIDs for life. That’s becoming possible because of continuing progress in HIV drug development (which we should be celebrating as a fucking triumph of human ingenuity).
Increasingly, the problem is not whether these drugs work, but whether they are available and affordable to all people with HIV, from San Francisco to Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the politics of healthcare, and it requires all of us (poz or neg) to be clear-headed, informed and engaged. So, the commenter is right to bring up insurance, but wrong to cloud the topic with stigma and fear-mongering.