Does HIV make you mean?

I live in a little 12 apt. complex. 4 of the apts. are mandated by housing for HIV positive folks.

Three out of the four people are dyed-in-the-wool un-caring jerks. They’re in their 20’s and 30’s. One is in his 50’s and a very nice guy. I don’t know how much age has to do with it.

Who knows any HIV people and do you think it’s true that it changes their attitude toward other people for the worst? I know it’s not true for all, I just want your general feelings.

It would be especially interesting if you knew them before and after the HIV pronouncement.

Gosh, you think maybe they’re a bit grumpy because they’re dying of a horrible contagious disease?

I don’t think the actual virus would make someone mean, but I can see how walking around that sick could put you in a less than happy mood.
I have a close family member who has been HIV+ for about 15 years now, and has had AIDS for at least 4 years.
He’s in surprisingly good health right now, but he has had bad times when we thought ‘this is it, this is the last bad cold’. He has to take something like 30 pills per day to stay alive and is sick A LOT. Sometimes, he’s cranky because his back hurts, or his stomach hurts, or something else hurts. Going to the doctor something like 3 times a week isn’t fun, and sometimes that annoys him. Like going to the pharmacy? Imagine how much funit is when you have 30 prescriptions you have to fill each month. I think I’d be a little pissy sometimes too.
Is he mean though? No, not at all.
He visits his partner’s grave often, and volunteers his time during the week working at a soup kitchen. He has an elderly old woman he’s friends with, and does her shopping and errands with her (she doesn’t drive).
He is a wonderful person, and the world will lose a great man when he passes away.
HIV doesn’t make people ‘mean’. There are plenty of mean, healthy people, and some loving and kind people who happen to have HIV.

Rose

That’s exactly what I was thinking–even though I’ve got to nitpick and say that being HIV+ doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dying outright–but their chances of living long healthy lives are certainly at an absolute minimum.

Being HIV+, I’m sure these guys have it awfully rough in their day-to-day lives.

Lamia:

I had a feeling I’d get lots of sarcasm, if not worse, from this OP.
But you haven’t answered any questions. Do you know any HIV positive folks? Did you know them before and/or after thy found out? Do you think age is a factor?

And I’m not talking about being personally pissed. That’s a given. I’m talking about being a shit to your fellow man/woman to the point where you couldn’t care less about them.

Yes, I have personally known many HIV+ people both before and after diagnosis.

Certainly in the early days of HIV/AIDS, when treatments were limited and prognosis poor, stress was a massive problem for sero-positive people. Apart from the physical effects of both illness and treatment, there was the constant stress associated with the possibility of employment, housing, insurance, medical care being terminated/refused.

Some people I’ve known have been cranky on various drug regimens (side effects are pretty common); some have been cranky during certain periods of illness. A very few have just seemed to be angry at the world in general. These aren’t uncommon reactions to any life-threatening illness, and few diseases have carried with them the additional stigma which has been attached to HIV/AIDS.

While I’ve seen many people make radical changes in their lives following a sero-positive diagnosis, those changes have generally related to focusing on “what’s important”, rather than affecting people’s perception of humanity at large.

In my personal experience, those people who were loving giving people prior to their diagnosis continued to be so after they knew their status, and those who were jerks to begin with remained so until the bitter end.

The one exception I would make to the above statements is that I’ve observed several people suffering serious HIV related neurological complications undergo a personality disintegration similar to that which can occur in people with Alzheimer’s disease. In some cases treatment has controlled the cause and the person’s personality has returned to “normal”; in others, the damage has been permanent as has been the change in personality. Again, this is not unknown in neurological conditions unrelated to HIV.

Before I forget, thanks for everyone’s responses.

My SO and I were talking about this thread earlier. (She lives next door to me.) She knows everyone here and for some reason people are constantly telling her their deepest secrets. Maybe she trades information about my perversions.
Anyway, one of the young gay dudes in here with HIV has a constant stream of sexual partners with whom he has un-protected sex without telling them he’s positive. I seem to remember reading somewhere (here?) that doing that was now a felony. Is that true or is it just the way I think it should be?

Please tell me that you didn’t mean that question to sound so homophobic.

If you’re asking whether it’s a felony to have unprotected sex without revealing seropositivity, I’d suggest asking the question in GQ and leaving out the “gay”, and “constant stream of sexual partners” - sexual orientation and the number of partners involved are totally irrelevent to the question of whether or not someone is legally obliged to inform a potential sexual partner of their seropositivity.

What I can tell you is that it’s an offence here in Australia to disclose someone’s HIV status (positive OR negative) without their permission except under tightly regulated circumstances. Soundslike you could use similar legislation where you live.

reprise:

Okay, I stand corrected. I certainly didn’t mean to sound (or be) homophobic. To be less homophobic I’d have to BE gay. Maybe I’m too old for this. My brain keeps blanking out on PC rules, forum rules,etc. As to “similar legislation”, I wasn’t going to out him for his mis-conduct, if that’s what you had in mind. For all I know, it’s a felony here to do that. But hell, he was bragging about it and at the least it’s a moral felony. But I see your point(s).

When my eyes and brain aren’t so bleary I’ll try to google it. I’m sorry if I offended anyone, gay or straight.
Rick

No problems ageless - just thought I’d seek clarification.

I’ll recheck our laws. From memory, here you can be penalised for not informing a sexual partner of your HIV seropositivity (albeit only under very limited circumstances - the onus still remains on the individual to protect themself) but not for failing to inform someone with whom you share a syringe. Go figure.

True, but the fact that it’s a gay man does influence the risks involved, if I’m not mistaken. For example, from what I’ve read on the subject, it would be substantially more dangerous for a man to engage in anal sex with an HIV-infected man (especially when the latter is the “top”), than it would be for that same man to engage in vaginal sex with an HIV-infected woman.

It goes without saying, of course, that both activities are highly dangerous. If the HIV-infected person ageless6 is describing is truly engaging in unprotected sex with unknowing partners, then PC-ness won’t serve anyone here. I have no moral objections to anyone “ratting” on scum like that, and I completely fail to see how that could be “homophobic”. My reaction to a straight HIV-infected person acting like this would be completely similar.

Does HIV in and of itself make you angry? Aside from possible neurological imbalances mentioned, no, not generally. Getting it, however, might make someone just a tad bitter. You just happen to have some of these people living in the same building as you. Be nice to them - odds are a lot of people aren’t.

Does having unprotected sex without disclosing your seropositive status constitute a crime? There have been cases brought to trial for various definitions of attempted murder, and they’ve gone both ways. I am not right now aware of any current laws on the books, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some (I’m thinking of a case - in Texas? - where a prostitute was convicted of attempted murder for infecting her clients). It is, of course, morally abhorrent, and teaches us all - safe sex is still the only option, because you never know who is committing the sin of omission…

(On a related note, my annual HIV test came back - non-reactive, of course. :smiley: )

Esprix

On the one hand, everybody has an obligation to protect themselves from HIV, and if the poz gay is barebacking, his partners bear half the rresponsibility.

On the other hand, if some slimeball is purposely infecting people with HIV, his ass needs to be ratted out pronto! That’s not homophobic in the least.

Tried to post this afternoon and it was somehow abducted and shuffled off the coil.

Esprix:

I’m as nice to people as they are to me and I wouldn’t care if everyone in here were +. (Well, I’d rather my SO would stick to being hetero.)
Glad your test was negative. Keep up the,ah, good work.

gobear:

I agree, but I wonder how you prove it was intentional and to whom do you report it? It seems you’d have to get testimony from one of his lovers and I have no idea who or where they are. All I know is he leaves our little walk-in gate open all weekend which also pisses me off as it compromises apt. security. He’s been told but just doesn’t care.

ageless, you mentioned that the apartment in which your neighbour lives is mandated HIV housing. I assume that there, as here, this would mean that he is visited by support workers on a regular basis.

While I’ve come across many people who have deliberately set out to contract HIV, I’ve only ever encountered a few (and not all male or gay) who have intentionally attempted to infect others. In each case those people were seriously disturbed and needed intensive mental health care.

While there may well be an appropriate authority to whom you can report your concerns, there are a couple of reasons why I’d see that as an option of last resort. The first is that this guy could well be yanking your SO’s chain and if he is and authorities come barging in, you’re probably going to be perceived as a homophobic busybody given to stirring up trouble. If he is actually telling the truth, then he needs some pretty intensive reminding of the risks he’s putting himself at by engaging in unsafe sex (the last thing he needs is another dose of HIV or one of the many transmissible diseases which are opportunistic) and this is probably far better delivered to him by someone who he perceives as already being “on his side” than by some official who’s been called into lay down the law by one of the neighbours.

My suggestion would be that you have a discreet word with his support worker along the lines of “I know he’s probably only saying it to shock us, but we’re concerned about what he has told my SO”. That way you’re not attacking him but you’re alerting his support worker to the possibility that there is a real problem which needs addressing.

If there isn’t a support worker you can contact, then phone your local HIV/AIDS organisation and see what they suggest. They deal with this kind of stuff (and far worse) all the time.

reprise:

Thanks. This is really going to take some hard thought. I’m really the non-interfering type. (Call it cowardly, perhaps, but I’m agoraphobic and the thought of becoming involved in this makes me literally shudder).
On the other hand, if this guy is really handing out death sentences…

5:00 A.M. here. Got to get some sleep, assuming I can now.

You’re not the one walking around with a life-threatening illness and having to go through the medical rigamarole described above. But the choice is yours.

Pray, what does being hetero have to do with HIV prevention?

I intend to.

Esprix

When you take a large load of probably experimental drugs & are isolated socially by society, it can affect your mood, I would say, yes. But then maybe if you try to get to know them & they think they can trust you, their attitude may change.

Rude is rude. Unless you infected them, they have no extra right to be rude because they’re infected. Of course, they’re not committing a crime or anything, and its not a big deal, but I don’t think we should excuse them anymore than we should excuse anyone else, the same way we shouldn’t discrimante against them.

Espirix: What does “non-reactive” mean in that context?

One other suggestion I forgot to mention. You’ve said that one of the guys in the HIV mandated apartments is “nice”. Perhaps if you explained to him that you have agoraphobia and sometimes might come across as abrasive (I’ve had episodes of agoraphobia myself, trust me, it’s easy to come across as an asshole when you’re dealing with the fear), and mentioned to him your concerns he might be able to shed some light about both what you perceive as the mean-spiritedness of the other tenants (he’s probably more aware than you of whether drug regimens or specific medical conditions are influencing their moods) and also on whether your SO is having her chain yanked regarding the other tenant’s alleged sexual exploits.

It’s a risky strategy which could backfire, but then so is contacting health or other authorities.