Our expert says:
Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert
Warm greetings to you LoneWolf and thanks for your very personal and intimate post. You've previously earned respect from several people here, myself included, and thank you for making us all more aware of some of the complex issues experienced by people in your situation. While loneliness is an issue for countless people - both straight and gay, HIV negative and HIV positive - it is a reality that many gay people feel particularly isolated and lonely. And possibly more so if one is HIV positive. I'm not sure whether this is a reflection on us gay people or society in general.
Certainly many gay people can be very superficial in the way we "determine" each others' relative "value". Many of us merely look at issues such as appearance (bodiliness, brand names, the cars we drive), age and social status and often "assess" each other only as sexual beings. Often there's too little value attributed to qualities such as integrity, values, experience, compassion and the ability to give and receive love.
I wish I had the answers LoneWolf. I'm chuffed that you're in long-term counselling and that you seem to lead a full and meaningful life, and I hope there's plenty of opportunity for you to nurture yourself. Don't look to others to give you meaning in your life. Your comment that no one around you remembered the 4th anniversary of your sobriety is very powerful but it shouldn't negate your own sense of pride and accomplishment.
Starting a support group would be great (we are in dire need of such groups) but I'd advise against it if, on some level, you're hoping to meet a special partner through the group. Also, it involves considerable work. How about taking an easier and more manageable route - start a small supper club with three or four friends, and work on developing your current friendships further. With time the group could agree to introduce new people. Keep it small and informal, with an emphasis on spending quality time with friends.
A while ago Ferny very kindly wrote an article for our forum, and I'm inviting you to do the same. Maybe gay people should be sensitised to the experiences of gay men living with HIV - your story could help change people's attitudes. Think about it LoneWolf and let me know.
A very warm hug for you and I hope you have a good weekend.
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