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Lifeline Cycle 4 : Introduction to recovery programs for gay and bisexual men

Have you ever tried to stop using, or is thinking about stopping, but do not know where or how to start? Lifeline may be for you. It is a peer-led, non-religious support group for gay and bisexual men who are recovering or looking to recover drug addiction.

Chemsex Fueling Sexual Compulsivity

The powerful sexual arousal, commanding energy, and extreme sense of self lead the user to become powerless over their erotic temptation, sexual behavior, and drug use. Sex becomes a person’s prime means for validation, excitement, pleasure, and meaning which nothing else compares to, creating an irresistible urge to have one’s needs met.

I got rid of depression after embracing my homosexuality

One day I told myself that this is not going and on the day that I was getting out of the hospital I got into an arguing with my mom about everything that happened and I just lost it. I told her that I would no longer live the life she wants me to and that I have decided to be happy from then on.

What’s wrong with being different?

Once he wrote a note to me. He wrote, “Mom you have to rescue me” “They want to beat me”. I was so angry that I went to the school to argue. Because I called the teacher several times they never paid attention to it at all.

Support from friends and family

Here’s a post from a dear friend, who’s a straight ally.screencapture-www-facebook-com-darprincess-posts-10153516246284756-0-1435845170428

Here’s my mum’s post.

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Avin’s Speech at Pink Dot 2015

Avin Tan, Singapore’s second person living with HIV to come out publicly, shares the community stage with his mum at Pink Dot 2015.

He shares about his fears of coming out, how his mum supported him and what he hopes the community can do to make Singapore a better place for all.


Good evening everyone !! How are you doing?
Thank you very much for attending Pink Dot 2015 !!

I’m Avin, I am a person living with HIV and I’d also like to introduce my mum, who has been a solid rock in my life, and someone I look up too all my life. She’s the gungho one.

HIV has been with us for 30 years.
Yet many are still unclear about what it is, and how it affect our lives.

I’ve been working with AfA for many years now, and after many failed attempts to get someone to come out and to accept interviews or share their experience at conferences, I came to the conclusion, that if I cannot convince myself to do so, how can I ask others to do it.

And so, I made the decision to come out publicly in 2012.

My biggest fear when I was preparing to come out, was that I will lose all my friends, lose my fair chance at work, and lose the love from my family.

The dread and anxiety was crippling.

And I’m sure this same fear continue to plague many others who are coming out,  not necessarily as a person living with HIV, but for many, as a LGBTI person.

Yet I’ve been welcomed, supported and loved.

When I first told my mum, her first question wasn’t how or why I got it, but if I can afford the medication. My health mattered more than anything else.

When she said that, a huge weight was lifted.

My mum have showed me her unconditional love and support, and for that I would like to thank her. Thank you Mummy, I love you. With my mom’s blessing,

I no longer need to hide behind a facade. This is incredibly liberating. I am now able to speak openly about it, and share my experience, with others and helping them cope with the disease.

This is what support from one person can do. Now, imagine the kind of things, 20,000 people can achieve. It is because of this support from friends and family, that I can stand here, and speak, and be counted as one.

We’ve lost too many people to HIV and AIDS, such as Mr. Paddy Chew,  and countless nameless individuals who might be too afraid to come out. We’ve remained quiet for too long now. We need to show persons living with HIV and AIDS that we care about them. That we care about HIV and AIDS, and we care about making a difference.

So can I hear some noise Pink Dot 2015??

All twenty thousand of you, make some noise.

This is Pink Dot, this is 2015, and this is where love lives.

So let make Singapore a better place for all.
Here’s a huge thank you to everyone of you, all the volunteers, kind sponsors and the organising committee.

I hope you’ll continue to stand by us.
Thank you, my mum and have a great evening !

Avin Tan

Avin Tan

Coordinated Care Case Manager

Avin is a person living with HIV (PLHIV), and has been working with AFA to raise the awareness of HIV/AIDS in Singapore. Following Mr. Paddy Chew, he is the second Singaporean living with HIV who has come out publicly.

Feeling Down and Sex

Ever noticed that your sexual appetite and behavior change when you’re stressed? When you’re depressed? When you’re happy? Your state of mind affects how horny you get, how often you want sex, and what kind of sex you might have.

We live in a society where gay and bi guys are told from a young age that we are sick, immoral and even criminal. Some gay and bi guys are rejected by their family or friends. Discrimination against us is commonplace, especially those of us who are HIV-positive. It only makes sense that this would have a negative impact on our mental health.

Often, gay and bi men live with depression, anxiety and feelings of low self worth. For many guys it’s just the reality of surviving homophobia, racism, transphobia, and many other forms of discrimination. Some of us have also survived traumatic events in our lifetime, such as childhood abuse, sexual assault, or we are living with post-traumatic stress.

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Being in this state of mental health, whether temporary or more long-lasting, can make us devalue ourselves and take more risks with our health. We might also take risks in an attempt to satisfy some other need, such as:

  • self-worth and affirmation
  • having meaningful connections with others
  • feeling desired sexually and comfortable with ourselves
  • self-confidence
  • feeling at ease
  • reducing anxiety

Maybe you notice these issues when you are hooking up? Maybe you notice them after a pattern of behaviour. Maybe you don’t notice them at all. These are bigger issues that can put us at greater risk, but require more than just knowledge about HIV transmission to overcome.

 TIPS

Before you go to have sex, think about how you’re feeling. Notice patterns of behaviour, or triggers that make you take risks. Acknowledge realities in your life that you might need to change, or you might need to accept.
Decide on some boundaries about what you will be comfortable with before you go ahead, and make a contract with yourself to stick to them.

If you find that your state of mind is making it difficult for you to make decisions you’re comfortable with, in the moment or later on, you can try one of these or other options that have worked for other guys:

  • Talk to someone like a trusted friend or family member about it. Just expressing our reality can help.
  • Increase your activity level through exercise, taking a class, connecting with others through a social group, or volunteering. Physical activity releases chemicals in the brain that elevate our mood. Connecting with others reduces feelings of isolation.
  • Get proper food and rest. This helps balance our mood.
  • Seek professional help from a counsellor, AIDS service organization, psychologist, etc. Sometimes it’s good to talk with a nonjudgmental and objective person who can also help connect us to other supports.

AFA MSM Programme

Daniel Le

Address: 9 Kelantan Lane #03-01
Singapore 208628

Tel: (65) 6254 0212

Fax: (65) 6256 5903

Email: daniel.le@afa.org.sg

 

1. If you need to talk to someone, please visit:

Oogachaga

Hotline 6226 2002

Tuesdays – Thursdays: 7pm – 10pm and,
Saturdays: 2pm – 5pm

WhatsApp 8592 0609

If you prefer to chat, you can get in touch through WhatsApp during our hotline operating hours. Please note that this is NOT an SMS service.

Click here for more info or to access e-mail counselling.

2. If you need to find community social groups please click our Supportive Networks for all the listings.

 

3. For anonymous testing, please visit:

  • ANONYMOUS TESTING SERVICE (ATS)

31 Kelantan Lane #1-16 S200031

Tuesdays & Wednesdays 6.30pm to 8.15pm
Saturday 1.30pm to 3.15pm

  • MOBILE TESTING SERVICE (MTS)

For operation detail, please visit our site to see where the testing van will be: http://afa.org.sg/whatwedo/support/mts/