HIV+ Men

Resources

HIV Positive Men: Having a Healthy Sex Life and a Healthy Family

Truvada may change the game for women trying to get pregnant by HIV positive partners

Vernazza: Safer Conception Options for Serodifferent Couples

  Prof. Pietro Vernazza of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Kantonsspital St. Gallen, Switzerland, talks with HIVE’s Shannon Weber about safer conception options and his amazing research and knowledge about safer conception options for serodifferent couples. Prof. Vernazza is a true pioneer for safer conception: he started helping serodifferent couples who wanted to have babies in 1996. In 2000, “I realized that these couples were really at low risk of transmitting the virus and we were offering them a difficult, expensive, cumbersome service [sperm-washing]” (Vernazza). In 2003, Prof. Vernazza (talking with serodifferent couples where the male partner had an undetectable viral load), “started to discuss with these couples and ask them, ‘how big do you think the risk is? And from what we know and what we see in your semen sample, is there is no virus, so to start with I would consider this to be very low risk.'” So, he started to say that couples could have sex without a condom when the female partner was ovulating if the male partner had had an undetectable viral load and no STIs were present, along with other factors. In his study of 53 couples who were trying to conceive, “there were certainly no transmissions” (Vernazza). When asked about PrEP, Prof. Vernazza says, “I have a little bit of trouble when people suggest that we should offer PrEP for the negative partner in addition to an antiretroviral treatment of the positive partner… I think this is really an overkill… It’s actually overuse of resources.”...

Guide to Female Condoms

  Sara Semelka, MPA, of AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and HIVE’s Shannon Weber talk about why YOU should give female condoms a chance. (Sara also demonstrates how to use one using a model vagina.) Reasons to try female condoms (FC2s): #1: Anyone can use them, they aren’t just for nontrans women. Power to the bottoms! #2: They can spice up your sex life: there are rings involved, think of the possibilities! #3: If you tried female condoms years ago, they have been majorly improved! #4: Are you allergic or sensitive to latex? FC2s are latex free! To learn what the female condom is, about successful roll-out, new products in the pipeline and why “female condom” is actually a narrowly defining name, watch this video with Shannon Weber and Jessica Terlikowski. Also watch this video on lessons learned from the Female Condom Coalition’s campaign as they relate to PrEP implementation for...

Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick Talks about How HIV is Transmitted

Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, a CDC-trained medical epidemiologist and board-certified infectious diseases physician, talks with Shannon Weber of HIVE about how HIV is transmitted. Check out Dr. Fitzpatricks’s article, “Talking About HIV: Can We Get a Little Help From Visible Friends?”  To view her full bio and read more great articles she has written, click...

HIVE: Safer Conception Options for Serodifferent Couples

  HIVE’s Shannon Weber and Lauren Poole address common questions that providers get regarding safer conception options for serodifferent couples where the man is living with HIV and the woman isn’t. Lauren Poole says, “The first step is the male partner having an undetectable viral...

Adherence: PRO Men (English)

  Dr. Annie Luetkemeyer and Clarissa Ospina talk about the importance of medication adherence for people living with HIV: “People can really live long healthy lives with HIV.” Deon and Caroline, a serodifferent couple, share their experience, as do Zutty & Juancito, two men living with...

Having a Healthy Sex Life and a Healthy Family

Joseph, Zutty, Damion, Jimmy, and Deon are all men living with HIV. Caroline is Deon’s HIV-negative partner who is pregnant. They discuss what a healthy sex life (and a healthy life) means to all of them and the possibility of having children. Dr. Brad Hare talks about the importance of taking care of your health when you’re living with HIV. Guy Vandenberg, MSW, discusses disclosure. He and Dr. Hare bring up having a provider be an ally to a patient with HIV. Dr. Deborah Cohan talks about safer conception options and birth control...

Disclosure: PRO Men

  Zutty, Angela, & Deon, all people living with HIV, talk about how they disclose their HIV status. Clarissa Ospina of Ward 86 discusses ways to disclose & ways that providers can help make disclosure...

Lynn Matthews: Safer Conception for Serodifferent Couples

  Lynn Matthews, M.D., M.P.H., of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses safer conception options for serodifferent couples with HIVE’s Shannon Weber. They talk about sperm washing, PrEP, and TasP, and possible combinations of the three. Dr. Matthews says that, “The evidence about the efficiency of ART for reducing viral load, and reducing transmission, is dramatic.” She also says, when talking about whether sperm washing is really necessary for safer conception, “It comes down to a discussion with patients about what they are comfortable...

Cori Blum: Family Building for People Living with HIV

  Cori Blum, MD, AAHIVS, of the Chicago Dept. of Public Health, chats with HIVE’s Shannon Weber about working with men living with HIV and building families. Dr. Blum says, when she first started becoming a provider for men, some of her patients (who were living with HIV), “started having conversations with me and expressing that they were interested in having babies or building families. These were [primarily] young, gay-identified, African-American men, who I wouldn’t necessarily have thought at the time, ‘Oh, I need to be talking to these young men about family planning.’ But they brought these issues to me.” For more information on family building for HIV-affected couples, check out PRO Men & POWER...

The PRO Men Initiative Poster

Shannon Weber, M.S.W., Guy Vandenberg, M.S.W., R.N., and Dr. Deborah Cohan’s poster on “Reaching women through their HIV-positive male partners: The PRO Men Initiative”:   Download [1.84...

Rachel & George’s PrEPception Story

Photo credit: Rachel George & I have known each other for about six or seven years. We met through a friend. I didn’t know that he was living with HIV until three years ago. When I first found out, he didn’t know that I knew, and I felt like it would be rude to bring it up. Then I found out a second way, in a way that he directly knew that I knew. So I brought it up to him and said, “Don’t be ashamed.” I wanted him to know that I didn’t feel differently about him. I work in the human services field, so I am pretty well-versed in matters around HIV. I’m not afraid, I understand how it’s transmitted. For those reasons, I’m probably someone who’s a little more open to having sexual contact with someone who is living with HIV. I’m educated and I understand it. When I first found out he was positive, he was very much concerned with thinking he wasn’t ever going to find a partner. This was before we were dating. He said, as soon as he was diagnosed, he thought: “Oh, that’s it, I’m not going to have kids, and no normal person is going to want to be with me, because, who is going to want to be with somebody that has a contractible sexually transmitted disease.” Actually, I’d dated an HIV-positive guy in the past. So I said to him: “I just want to let you know that people who are educated will date someone who is positive, that wouldn’t necessarily be a barrier.” Fast-forward… We eventually become...

A Breath of Fresh Air

Photo credit: Vonz B. On June 25, 2008, I was diagnosed with HIV. I was in jail, and had decided to get tested. I knew that my girlfriend at that time was living with HIV and we hadn’t been taking precautions. I had to back to the pod [a housing unit in jail] with a white paper. Only people who tested positive got sent back with white papers. I was scared, I didn’t know how to tell my family or friends. I continued living the fast life, getting high, and going in and out of jail, never for too long or for anything serious. I hardly ever saw my son. In 2009 I met the woman who I’d end up marrying. She was into the same lifestyle. In 2012, she got pregnant. We immediately stopped using drugs. We both went into separate drug programs: Epiphany Center and Ferguson Place. You may be thinking, “What about the wife and baby? Are they living with HIV now, too?” The answer is no. I was taking my antiretroviral medicine, which caused my viral load to become undetectable. When someone’s viral load is undetectable, it’s a next to zero chance that they can pass HIV on to their partner. This method of prevention is called TasP, or Treatment as Prevention. And if the mom remains HIV negative, there is zero chance that the baby will acquire HIV. When my wife went in to San Francisco General Hospital for her prenatal care, the midwife who saw her for her first visit asked her if she used drugs, smoked, drank, or had sex with someone...

A New Lease On Life

When Pete was diagnosed with HIV, back in 2007, I assumed the worst. We had been friends for many years after having a romantic relationship back in the late 90’s and I was devastated to hear that someone I cared about very much was sentenced to a life of illness and probably a premature and painful end to his life. The feeling was one of great despair and helplessness. After telling me about how he was diagnosed-after having a dream that he tested positive-he told me about how the counselor at the clinic he went to gave him some encouragement. “It’s a weak strain,” she had told him, “you could live for another 30 years”. But he and I both thought we knew that she was being very generous. A couple of years passed and I hadn’t heard much from Pete at all. He was living a different life; scared of what the future held for him. I lent him some money now and again. He came to stay the night at my house in the suburbs to use the computer, have a good meal. Eventually we lost touch completely and he became more of a fleeting thought…a distant existence which I hoped was well. Amazingly all of that came to an abrupt end in 2014 when a quick Facebook search for old friends turned up a cheerful Facebook page belonging to Pete! I sent him a quick note and friend request. His pictures were of a happy and thriving person; not at all like the depressed and defeated one I had lost touch with all those years ago....

Excerpt of Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science’s Surprising Victory Over HIV

1999 When Poppy Hillsborough walked into her second day of work in a new city and a new state, she wasn’t expecting to fall in love. But then Ted Morgan, a tall, lanky Californian with sandy blond hair and pink cheeks, held the door open for her, and everything changed. “He held out his hand to shake hands and said, ‘Hi, welcome. I’m [Ted],’” said Poppy, who’s originally from Illinois. “I was looking into his amazing blue eyes and I remember thinking, ‘This is the guy.’ I just knew it from the moment I met him.” It was an unwelcome realization. For one thing, it was her second day in San Francisco and she was still getting her bearings. For another, she worked with the guy. Besides, Hillsborough was already in a relationship. The fact that Ted was HIV-positive, diagnosed in 1995, didn’t come into play until the two started dating a year and a half later. But even that didn’t deter the dreams of pink-cheeked babies that had begun drifting through Hillsborough’s head. This was, after all, a woman who, as a child in a Chicago suburb, turned spoons and forks into babies, tucking them in to the cutlery drawer with a prayer that they sleep soundly. She had always wanted to be a mother. Now she wasn’t sure how that would happen. But she knew it would. 2000 Hillsborough made an appointment with Morgan’s primary care doctor—the doctor who had diagnosed Morgan with the virus and who had several HIV-positive patients in her practice. Hillsborough wanted an answer to the question that had been on her mind...

Ben Banks on Thriving and Fatherhood with HIV

Photo credits: Kasiah Banks I remember the day quite clearly in 1991. I was in seventh grade and I had just came home from school. I walked up the stairs and heard my mother crying on the edge of her bed. As a 12 year old child, I innocently asked, “Mom, why are you crying?” You would have had a better chance to purchase a winning multi-million dollar lottery ticket than guess the response that followed. She answered, “the doctor called. You are HIV positive.” And just like that—my    world    was   flipped upside-down. Just days before I was celebrating being cancer-free for 10 years! The reality was one of the three blood transfusions that saved my life while getting treated for stage 5 Wilms’ tumor, a kidney cancer that had also spread to both lungs, in 1981 at the age of two had infected me with HIV. When the shock finally wore off many months later, I realized HIV was only a small part of me and I was not going to allow this virus to define me. Rather, I was going to define the virus and make the rules. I was going to live long enough to make my future life goals a reality. I set a goal to graduate from high school-I did. I set a goal to graduate from college-I did three times. I set a goal to get married-I did. I set a goal to have a career-I do. I set a goal to have a child-again, I do! The goals to graduate high school and college as well as have a career were individual...

Dr. Pollock y Carolina- A PrEP Story in Spanish (with English transcripts)

  Dr. Lealah Pollock talks with Carolina, a Latina woman who used PrEP to have a baby with her HIV positive husband. Carolina tells her story of finding a provider who was willing to help her have her baby & how she did it. The video is in Spanish, English & Spanish transcripts are available...

To PrEP or not to PrEP

My husband is HIV+ and I am negative. In 2010, after many years of searching for a solution about how we could conceive a child of our own, I received a phone call from Shannon Weber at BAPAC (now Hive) telling me about PrEP. Shannon helped me find a doctor to prescribe it to me, and I took Truvada, commonly known as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) from 2010-2012 as we attempted to conceive naturally. We were successful and in April 2013 I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. You can read all about the journey on my blog, HIVNegativeSpouses. Now, we are thinking about having another baby.  So, I will need to get back on PrEP. But this has got me thinking….do I want to start PrEP indefinitely regardless of if we’re trying to get pregnant? I don’t know. I keep going back and forth on the Pros and Cons of staying on PrEP permanently. I think I’d feel uneasy about using PrEP alone for HIV prevention purposes. And I’m not sure how my husband would feel about it….probably more uneasy than me. We have both felt very safe and secure using condoms…and we’ve been very responsible to use condoms since Day One. On the other hand, the thought of not having to use condoms….how amazing that would be! There have been times we weren’t able to have sex because we were out of condoms, or couldn’t afford condoms. They aren’t cheap you know. (I know we can get them for free but I usually don’t feel like asking, and I don’t get to pick my favorite models and brands–and there’s...

Jessica Terlikowski From AIDS Foundation Chicago on the Female Condom

I’m on a mission to expand the “HIV prevention toolkit” conversation as it relates to women. Realizing I did not know enough about the potential benefits of the female condom, I talk with Jessica Terlikowski from AIDS Foundation Chicago in Seattle, Washington February 2015 to explore what we know and what is upcoming related to this female/bottom controlled HIV prevention method. Learn what the female condom is, about successful roll-out, new products in the pipeline and why “female condom” is actually a narrowly defining name. To clarify a statement in the video about upcoming products, the woman’s condom is as far a long as the other female condoms Jessica mentioned and unfortunately is also not yet up for FDA review. For more on the female condom: http://www.nationalfccoalition.org/...