Subscribe to our RSS feed

Popular News Stories

  • Fuck poz guys!
  • Dead porn stars society: HIV heroes of the arts:  (6)
  • BareBackRT.com  - the interview
  • Surrendering my toaster?
  • Superfoods

Gay Men

Feb04

Adventures in HIV: celebrating D-Day, part two

Thursday, 04 February 2016 Written by // Rob Olver Categories // Activism, Gay Men, Rob Olver, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

Twelve month’s later - in which Rob Olver sees that his HIV diagnosis is not God's way of telling him to fuck off.

Adventures in HIV: celebrating D-Day, part two

 “Flesh is magic, dancing on a clock.” – Leonard Cohen, “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot”. /

So four days previous I had turned sixty two. I was set to retire at the end of the month and now I had tested positive for HIV. I'd been struggling already to understand what retirement might mean to me and in truth I hadn't got much beyond some rosy vision of lawn bowling, cucumber sandwiches and cranky letters to the editor. Frankly, I didn't think it was for me. But what in hell was the diagnosis going to mean to me? None of the above, I suspected. 

So I spent some time weighing things, looking the threat in the face. Then I went home, had a great conversation, some even better sex and woke up feeling pretty damn good, considering. And that's how my rite of passage began. 

And that's what HIV has been for me: a rite of passage. 

When I was diagnosed I remember thinking that the most important thing aside from getting on treatment was to not let the fact of my diagnosis change who I was in any fundamental way. I'd known people who had professionally, socially and sexually given up on their lives because they'd been diagnosed - shambling through life, hunched over their secret hurt because I guess the alternatives came to be too much trouble. I think that was the sort of thing I meant and definitely not the way I wanted to dodder off into senescence. 

I had come down this rabbit hole with no sense of guilt whatsoever and I would not allow the virus or any stigma around the virus to redefine me. 

Having said that, it wasn't long before I found myself spending most of my time trying to gain  knowledge. Knowledge of the virus, its treatment, what resources were available, what politics pertained and so on. It's an ongoing process. And when you spend that much of your time in the pursuit of one thing, well that seems pretty darn defining to me. 

So I've embraced HIV as my teacher. And it has redefined me in spite of myself, but in the best of ways. 

It has given me a good struggle and a sense of good purpose, both of which I sorely needed. It has helped me to shift the balance of my life's priorities much more in favor of kindness and love than was ever previously the case and it has made me part of a community which welcomes, supports and inspires me. 

It may be hard for some to understand, but far from feeling like a victim, I feel blessed. Sure, I would rather there was no such thing as HIV but there is and one day I contracted it. That's mine. It's a part of my life and it informs my life in ways that I love. From adversity, opportunity. 

So I never wish I hadn't contracted the virus. 

I never wish I were negative. 

I never wish I were someone else. 

On the contrary, I want to celebrate who I am and the fact that I am. I love me. 

So there's lots to celebrate and that's what I'm doing. One year on from my date of diagnosis I'm feeling pretty good overall about the progress I've made. I've met the sundry nuts n' bolts challenges of finding the funding for treatment, getting on treatment and so on. 

The symptoms I'd been having have all fallen away by this time and my viral load is undetectable, making me the safest sexual prospect in most rooms. Just sayin'. 

And my knowledge of the field continues to grow as does my involvement with the community. 

So that's the story of my HIV diagnosis and why I celebrate it every year on October 14, which is also the date when I decided to be completely out about my HIV status. 

Far from being God's Way of telling me to fuck off, it may be the best thing that could have happened to me.

 

Arts and Entertainment Section

  • Becoming Jade

    Becoming Jade

    A fascinating contribution from Toronto-based designer/photographer/film maker Kristy Boyce detailing the transformation of PositiveLite.com’s Alphonso King Jr. to drag artist Jade Elektra, aka DJ Relentless
  • Art+laughter=healing

    Art+laughter=healing

    New York's Felix Garmendia has a strong connection with art – and sometimes it has shown itself in mighty humorous ways
  • I Watched Charlie Sheen on The Dr. Oz Show So You Don't Have To

    I Watched Charlie Sheen on The Dr. Oz Show So You Don't Have To

    Mark S King on the crazy on-off-on HIV treatment history of our least favourite HIV poster boy Charlie Sheen . . “might be the worst thing to ever happen to AIDS cure research, or at least the most irresponsible reporting about it.”

Activism Section

Current Affairs Section

Events Section

Features and Interviews Section

Health Section

International Section

Legal Section

Lifestyle Section

  • Losing Hope

    Losing Hope

    A powerful and moving post from Poz.com “Pets can be underestimated on the difference they make in people's lives.” So what happens to our own lives when they pass away?
  • Toronto’s OutNPoz growing by leaps and bounds

    Toronto’s OutNPoz growing by leaps and bounds

    When a social group grows from 180 to 430 members in one year you know something's right. And opportunities for Toronto poz gay guys to mix and mingle are growing further, says OutNPoz chair Scott Nickerson in this interview with Bob Leahy
  • Don’t worry….be appy!

    Don’t worry….be appy!

    The world of photo apps. Wayne Bristow says, “it's 2016 and digital photography is here to stay. It’s time to break the rules and create some art.” So get out your phone.

Living with HIV Section

  • You + ART

    You + ART

    CATIE’s The Positive Side asked “Tell us about your relationship with antiretroviral therapy: Is it your BFF, your mother-in-law, your longest relationship…?”
  • Becoming Jade

    Becoming Jade

    A fascinating contribution from Toronto-based designer/photographer/film maker Kristy Boyce detailing the transformation of PositiveLite.com’s Alphonso King Jr. to drag artist Jade Elektra, aka DJ Relentless
  • Losing Hope

    Losing Hope

    A powerful and moving post from Poz.com “Pets can be underestimated on the difference they make in people's lives.” So what happens to our own lives when they pass away?

Media Section

Opinion Pieces Section

  • You + ART

    You + ART

    CATIE’s The Positive Side asked “Tell us about your relationship with antiretroviral therapy: Is it your BFF, your mother-in-law, your longest relationship…?”
  • Losing Hope

    Losing Hope

    A powerful and moving post from Poz.com “Pets can be underestimated on the difference they make in people's lives.” So what happens to our own lives when they pass away?
  • Adventures in HIV: celebrating D-Day, part two

    Adventures in HIV: celebrating D-Day, part two

    Twelve month’s later - in which Rob Olver sees that his HIV diagnosis is not God's way of telling him to fuck off.

Population Specific Section

Sex and Sexuality Section

  • Toronto’s OutNPoz growing by leaps and bounds

    Toronto’s OutNPoz growing by leaps and bounds

    When a social group grows from 180 to 430 members in one year you know something's right. And opportunities for Toronto poz gay guys to mix and mingle are growing further, says OutNPoz chair Scott Nickerson in this interview with Bob Leahy
  • Dating, sex and HIV

    Dating, sex and HIV

    Toronto guy Josh, diagnosed in 2014, has decided “I’m happier staying away from dating and I’m happier staying away from sex.”
  • Tiny explosion of panic

    Tiny explosion of panic

    No condoms, no PrEP. Poppy Morgan on her latest efforts to conceive with her HIV-positive husband. “There have been a few times when the thought crossed my mind..."What if I got HIV from him?" It’s weird when that happens.”

MarketPlace