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I’m HIV-postive and I just got a NOsebleed. OH SH*T!

Since Jan. 24, 2012, I have had the opportunity to learn some amazing things about my body, how HIV infection grows and is treated and how others that are more “positive experienced” than myself have lived with this immune disorder for many, many years. It’s been very humbling, to say the least.

Nose Bleed HIV Positive Scare
A nose bleed for an HIV-positive person really can freak us out.

But what happened recently was not something I had thought about much– or how I would react or feel. But it’s actually something that every HIV-positive person has to think about, and often.

I woke up the other morning to blood on my pillow. Blood on my hands. Blood that was dried up — on my face! Talk about something worse than that morning breath I had when I was still a smoker. (Oh, yea, I quit recently.)

Talk about an “OH SH*T! MOTHER OF A GAY QUEEN SLAPPING HER DOG BECAUSE SHE CAN’T FIND THE RIGHT EYE LINER PENCIL” freak out.

I had, had a nosebleed.  Questions were flying through my mind: “What if this happened when I was out in the public? Would others freak out? Would I? Would I be the lonely guy in the middle of the street screaming for a tissue and everyone just kept walking by?” “Can I give someone MY HIV from my nosebleed? Well, duh. But what about my dried up blood?” “Should I throw away my pillow now? But what if someone is going through the trash and touches it?”

See the fact is, I hadn’t yet realized or experienced the freaking out that HIV-positive people (at least once) have gone through or will go through when they might get a paper cut, nosebleed, or even a cut in the roof of our mouths from that sharp tortilla chip.

Will I continue to freak out a little when I see blood? HELL YEA! 

But you (neg’s & poz’s) don’t need to, if you see my blood. Trust me, I’ll take care of it. So don’t freak out a lot … or even a little. I’m already doing it, even if I laugh.  <—– the reality of an HIV-positive guy from Tennessee.

End the stigma. I’m still Josh! YOU still be You!!!

-Josh

13 Comments Join the Conversation →


  • Maybe I’m unique in this situation, but I’d just simply offer to help you. You have HIV, not the plague.

    • Exactly the point of the post… 🙂 you’re awesome… thanks for helping to end the stigma. And thanks for reading.

      • Thanks for the follow. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Signs and spomtmysThe spomtmys of HIV and AIDS vary, depending on the phase of infection. When first infected with HIV, you may have no spomtmys at all, although it’s more common to develop a brief flu-like illness two to six weeks after becoming infected. But because the signs and spomtmys of an initial infection — which may include fever, headache, sore throat, swollen lymph glands and rash — are similar to those of other diseases, you might not realize you’ve been infected with HIV.Even if you don’t have spomtmys, you’re still able to transmit the virus to others. Once the virus enters your body, your own immune system also comes under attack. The virus multiplies in your lymph nodes and slowly begins to destroy your helper T cells (CD4 lymphocytes) — the white blood cells that coordinate your entire immune system.You may remain symptom-free for eight or nine years or more. But as the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, you may develop mild infections or chronic spomtmys such as:Swollen lymph nodes — often one of the first signs of HIV infectionDiarrheaWeight lossFeverCough and shortness of breathDuring the last phase of HIV — which occurs approximately 10 or more years after the initial infection — more serious spomtmys may begin to appear, and the infection may then meet the official definition of AIDS. In 1993, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) redefined AIDS to mean the presence of HIV infection as shown by a positive HIV-antibody test plus at least one of the following:The development of an opportunistic infection — an infection that occurs when your immune system is impaired — such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP)A CD4 lymphocyte count of 200 or less — a normal count ranges from 600 to 1,000By the time AIDS develops, your immune system has been severely damaged, making you susceptible to opportunistic infections. The signs and spomtmys of some of these infections may include:Soaking night sweatsShaking chills or fever higher than 100 F for several weeksDry cough and shortness of breathChronic diarrheaPersistent white spots or unusual lesions on your tongue or in your mouthHeadachesBlurred and distorted visionWeight lossYou may also begin to experience signs and spomtmys of later stage HIV infection itself, such as:Persistent, unexplained fatigueSoaking night sweatsShaking chills or fever higher than 100 F for several weeksSwelling of lymph nodes for more than three monthsChronic diarrheaPersistent headachesIf you’re infected with HIV, you’re also more likely to develop certain cancers, especially Kaposi’s sarcoma, cervical cancer and lymphoma, although improved treatments have reduced the risk of these illnesses.Symptoms of HIV in childrenChildren who are HIV-positive often fail to gain weight or grow normally. As the disease progresses, they may have difficulty walking or delayed mental development. In addition to being susceptible to the same opportunistic infections that adults are, children may have severe forms of common childhood illnesses such as ear infections (otitis media), pneumonia and tonsillitis.

  • you’re awesomely funny.. and reading this in the morning brightens up the day!

    HUGS FROM KUALA LUMPUR!!!

    • Well glad to make you laugh… I find that humor helps me deal with tons of stressful things. 🙂

  • Adolfo

    Remember that dry blood or other body fluids from an HIV Poz person are not contagious’ The Virus cannot survive when the fluids dry. Just wash awy. there are universalprecautions when the blood or other fluids are liquid or moist: keep stuff away from delicate skin thats cut, rashes or itching. I will help you any time I just will be careful not to touch wet stuff with my bare hands and if possible use a plastic bag, gloves or the wrap from some food stuff. no panick, no problem just common sense.

    • Absolutely… this post was a little more about the stigma of it, than the actual blood. Thanks for reading and posting a comment. I appreciate it! Cheers!

  • Robbie

    Your blog is amazing!!! Funny enough I had a nose bleed this morning, 5 weeks after being diagnosed!! I thought the same things! Omg what if a friend stays over, omg I just wiped it on a towel, I need to wash that now! It’s a horrible thought process but your right, you are still you! You won’t put anyone at risk as no one wipes your nose for you, you do it yourself! And also the chances of passing it on that way are so slim!!

    I caught it after my ex partner lied about an encounter he had on holiday 2 nights before we met!! He said he used protection and went for 2 follow up appointments afterwards but they were all lies! We were together 18 months and he lied from day 1!! Even though he did go for an initial test 2 weeks after this encounter the doctor said make sure you come back after the window period had closed and in the mean time Becareful!! He had no respect for me so lied and was certainly not careful!! My main hurt from all of this is I only caught it in August, after 18 months together! 3 weeks before we split up (on different grounds as we did not know our status’s then)!! Just hard dealing with it on your own! But in the words of Whitney….”Step by step”!!! Please keep on writing, your blog is inspirational and helps people like me!! X

  • Dillon
  • Still Me too

    I had this exact same worries, although I hadn’t had a nosebleed in years, for weeks all I could think about was what if I had a nosebleed and freaked out. Keep up your work, some of us aren’t ready to tell the world (or even possibly read this blog, really brings back all those feelings I am trying to subdue while I deal with it) I wish you a happy and healthy new year x .ps. did you write about telling your family?

  • Daniel Palma

    Josh, Good thing that HIV dies within a matter of minutes after it’s been exposed to Oxygen in the air. I am not so alarmed with blood, seeing how I used to work in a clinic doing blood draws (venipuncture) where I was at risk for exposure to anything transmitted by blood. I am also HIV+ so HIV is not a concern due to its’ vulnerability to Oxygen. I would be more concerned with Hepatitis or bloodborne pathogens that can live in blood (even dried) outside of the body for longer periods of time. Anyways, hope it helps clear your mind or a sense of relief that you don’t have an “OH SH*T! MOTHER OF A GAY QUEEN SLAPPING HER DOG BECAUSE SHE CAN’T FIND THE RIGHT EYE LINER PENCIL” freak out. ~~ Daniel

    • Absolutely agree! This was a long time ago post– but I found it important to share again as others may have felt this way. I only partially freak out now 😉