Vada’s Agony Aunt, Asifa Lahore, takes on this week’s Agony: HIV, Friends at War & Mum on the Scene.
I got my results back yesterday and I’ve tested positive for HIV. To be honest I’m still in shock. I haven’t told my family yet and don’t know how to. They love me but they’ve always seen gays as promiscuous and looked down on us a bit. I need to tell them because this is me, but how do I go about it?
It is important to remember that you are still in shock and coming to terms with your diagnosis. I think you should concentrate on yourself to begin with. Talk to your clinic about whether you need to go on medication anytime soon, whether you can access counselling or information on support groups for gay men living with HIV. THT have friendly groups and Naz Project London has a thriving HIV Positive Choir. When you feel ready to disclose your status to your family, cast your mind back to when you first came out and the anxiety and stress you would have felt then. Disclosing your HIV status is like coming out all over again so make sure you gain support from trusted networks you have built up. Ultimately your family accepted your sexual orientation because they love you. In time they will accept your diagnosis too. Warm Lahore Hugs!
I used to have a really close circle with 2 gays, but now they hate each other. They’ve been talking about holidays and have each invited me separately to go with them. I can only afford one! How do I pick without choosing sides?
It is unfair that your friends are bringing you into their dispute and making you choose sides. This is not your problem, it is theirs and therefore you should not be dragged into this uncomfortable situation. Talk to them separately at first and explain what effect their rowing has had on you. If the situation doesn’t resolve by this method I have a trick up my sleeve. Years ago my aunties Anila and Mina were at war with each other over family politics. Being very sly myself, I managed to get them in a room by themselves and after hours of dramatic crying sessions, it was like nothing had ever happened. Be bold and bring your friends back together, If it fails, at least you’ve made your feelings clear.
My mum wants to come gay clubbing with me! I’m pretty much totally new to the London scene. Any ideas for a mum friendly gay night out in London?
I remember the first time my mum came to see my cabaret show in Central London. I was petrified so I can totally understand how you feel! People have all sorts of perceptions and assumptions of the gay community and the fear is that bringing them onto the scene will only add to them. I will give you advice based on my own experience with my mum. Be yourself, don’t censor anything and take her to a place you feel comfortable. We are lucky that London’s gay scene is so diverse so it’s up to you whether you want to take her somewhere mainstream and vanilla like GAY at Heaven or hardcore and naughty like The Hoist. You could even be different and bring her to one of my Bollywood nights! The choice is yours!