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When Does Over-Sharing on the Internet Help? When You’re HIV-Positive and Have Nowhere Else To Go

POZIAM, BeOneCity, and SINMen.net are just some of the free social networking sites out there for the HIV-positive flock. And while there are some grave concerns about revealing too much about yourself online, sometimes it’s the best option. “But while HIV-positive bloggers, vloggers, and social-networking site creators are also keenly aware of the ever-increasing reach of digital media, particularly among youth and young adults, the reasons many choose to begin their online endeavors are often far more personal than practical. ‘I actually find it’s much easier to deal with my own HIV by being open about it. It’s cathartic,’ says [21-year-old Georgia college student Jonathan Shaw], who in addition to launching his YouTube vlog in March 2009 just three months after his diagnosis also disclosed his serostatus on Facebook only a week after he learned he was HIV-positive. ‘And if my story helps others too, then all the better.'” [HIV Plus]

By:           editor editor
On:           Mar 26, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , ,
  • 8 Comments
    • Bob
      Bob

      Cool! I wrote this piece for HIV Plus

      Mar 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom
      Tom

      I started blogging right after my HIV diagnosis 7 years ago. It was a way for me to document what I was going through and most certainly it was cathartic. At the time, I felt that I had no one else to talk to and poured my heart out in the blog. As time went on it became much more therapeutic in general and I was able to recognize that I needed to make some major changes in my life. 3 years ago I finally got sober.

      I wasn’t always completely open about my identity, until another “blogger” and horrible soul decided to post my HIV status and name without my consent. It was then I decided to go ahead and start being completely open about being Positive, and I have since encountered many instances where there is still quite a bit of stigma, even from other gay men. That just makes me more determined to live out loud and in the open. My goal is to see the time when HIV+ people are treated just as you would anyone else with a chronic and survivable illness. No different.

      Mar 27, 2010 at 12:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • EdWoody
      EdWoody

      I wish I didn’t have to ask this, but I hope that when you write about your experiences as a HIV+ person, you also take the time to remind your readers to do everything in their power to avoid ending up in your place.

      Mar 27, 2010 at 2:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dennis
      Dennis

      @EdWoody:
      Respectfully, these men’s blogs/posts/sites are first and foremost for meeting their OWN needs for communication, connection, and sharing their life’s experiences…

      Prevention and education are extremely valid topics of course, but HIV+ oriented sites have every right to cater to the psychological, emotional and sexual needs of + men FIRST.

      Every gay men intelligent enough to read a blog should already know that if you want to stay negative, wrap up your friggin’ dick if you fuck, and insist your top partner do the same if you bottom…it ain’t rocket science, people.

      Mar 27, 2010 at 3:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom
      Tom

      @EdWoody: I’m not sure how I feel about your characterization that I have “ended up” anywhere. While I certainly don’t advocate becoming HIV+ or engaging in reckless behavior, my life has become richer and more fulfilling in the last few years than it has been for decades. Far from ending, I feel my horizons have expanded and my options are limited only by my desire and ambition to continue to grow.
      And like it or not, as Dennis said above, while I try not to limit my writing to HIV or HIV+ issues only, my first concern is to try and help myself and others to navigate a difficult, but by no means tragic, road. If negative men get a prevention message out of that, that’s fine too.

      Mar 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeff Bridge
      Jeff Bridge

      As founder of HIV Campground Project, I feel it is essential to have online social networking for HIV poz! When I started our MySpace in 2006, we started with 30 friends that grew to 36,000 friends. Facebook and Twitter followed with another 6,000 friends and Yahoo and Lifeout.com gained us another 5,000 friends. I think we create the stigma by “being secret” about our status. We have low cost campouts and events that support people with HIV / AIDS nationwide!

      http://www.hiv-campground-project.org

      Hugs,
      Jeff Bridge

      founder of HIV Campground Project

      Apr 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PozVille
      PozVille

      @Tom: I been using the internet for journaling for many years, initially on Yahoo’s GeoCities during the late 90s. I then created my own free standing personal website. In 2007 I started my own WEB2 social network as a way to expand upon my existing personal website, sharing my experiences and thoughts, interacting with others like myself. I’ve met some really cool people online.

      There is still a stigma and negativity from hiv neg gay men towards poz men. I see this in real life and online. I ignore it.

      Journaling has been therapeutic on many levels over the years.

      Jul 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PozVille
      PozVille

      @EdWoody: As men who are hiv positive and blogging, journaling or maintaining social network for HIV poz folks, it is not our responsibility to “remind our readers” how to avoid becoming infected. I have a lot more to write about than HIV. There are people out there who do that already. Gay men know the risks of unprotected sex or sharing needles if they’re stupid enough to use dangerous addictive illegal drugs.

      As far as ending up in my place, there are people who got infected through blood transfusions, sharing tattoo ink/needles, or from healthcare related work in the early 80s. I’m one of those people who became infected from either sharing tattoo ink/needle or a blood transfusion I had in San Francisco back in 81 – 82.

      Jul 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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