Just*in Time: February 2013


Photo by Don Harris © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved
Hi Justin:

I just have to say, I love you! I’m writing because my son was in a two-year relationship, but they broke up this past May. After that, my son was dating a few different guys. As a mom, I kept giving him the talk about being careful and wearing protection if he had sex. My son is very open with me, and he did tell me he wasn’t always wearing protection. Since October I have been on him about getting tested because he was putting himself at risk.

On November 7, he got a call from the doctor telling him he was positive. I have been asking my son to go to the Web site, thebody.com, and watch your videos, but he won’t have any part of that. He just keeps telling me he is fine. My son thinks he does not have HIV. He did have a Western blot done, so I know the test isn’t wrong.

I am just worried that my son will go into a depression soon. He won’t go to any support groups and he doesn’t want to talk about it unless he brings it up. My son has support from me, the family, and a few good friends that he did tell. I am worried about how he really is feeling inside, though. What can I do to help my son?

Also, my son wants to stay on dating sites and meet people. I am scared that he is just going to get hurt more. I know if he meets someone and he tells them he is positive they won’t want to be with him. I did ask him to join an HIV dating site, but he says he doesn’t think there are any and he doesn’t want to date someone that is poz. Is that normal to think that way at first? And how can I get him to connect with other people who are going through the same thing he is?

Thank you for your time Justin and thank you for being there for so many others…you are an amazing person!

First let me just say that you are a good mother. I love that you felt open and trusting enough to send me this letter. My mother also was scared for me and gave me the talk about protected sex and being careful. But, as adults, we are in charge of making our own way and making our own decisions.

Finding out that you are positive may be jarring when you first hear it. One might go into denial or a state of numbness to where you will think nothing of it. Or even going as far as forgetting you even have the disease because the emotions of being scared, feared, and unloved are so impactful that one will say, “I’m fine,” when you are really not.

He sounds like he is going through deep depression and is not snapping out of it anytime soon. He will have to let it out some way. I’m most worried about that he will find another way, a more dangerous way, to let out his frustrations. In my life drugs and sex seemed to cover up a lot of pain and sorrow. He will need to find a way.

I would also check to see if he is suffering from low self-esteem. There are many poz dating sites on the Internet. Before I met my husband I met a lot of guys off dating sites that didn’t care about my HIV status because they liked me for me. Depending on his age a lot of young people do like going through the Internet to connect to other people that are going through the same things they are.
Ask him why he wouldn’t want to date someone who is poz. It is a case-by-case basis about the feelings one has about being poz. There is no feeling that is normal or abnormal. You need to just be there and reassure him that you will always be there.

Justin B. Terry-Smith has been fighting the good fight since 1999. He’s garnered recognition and awards for his work, but he’s more concerned about looking for new ways to transform society for the better than resting on his laurels. He started up in gay rights and HIV activism in 2005, published an HIV-themed children’s book, I Have A Secret (Creative House Press) in 2011, and created his own award-winning video blog called, “Justin’s HIV Journal”: justinshivjournal.blogspot.com. Now, with this column, Justin has found a way to give voice to the issues that people write to him about. Visit his main Web site at www.justinbsmith.com. He welcomes your questions at [email protected]

Read this article in our digital edition on our site by clicking here (or off-site by clicking here.)

Previous articleKeeping Watch
Next articleGina Ravera