Each class, several hundred people living with HIV – primarily gay men, with a glad sprinkle of true women and our supporters – embark on the HIV Cruise Retreat ( known as “ The Poz Cruise ” but not associated with POZ Magazine ) for a workweek of fun and play on the high seas. The event started with a group of HIV plus friends and has grown enormously over more than a twelve years. The week is organized by one travel agent and a team of dedicate volunteers ( and that includes me as one of the hosts and MC ). The days and nights are packed with exclusive shore excursions, private parties and all the perks of being aboard a large passenger ship — but nothing can compete with the freedom of making newfangled friends without fearing HIV disclosure or stigma. here are five things I have learned aboard the HIV Cruise Retreat. 12241319_10207095287733599_1258243416563954974_n 1. We’ll take a party over another medical seminar, thank you.

Poz guys are as educated about our condition as ever before, and we ’ rhenium no longer clamoring for the very latest bits of information. go are the medical update lectures that were once a staple of the week-long Poz Cruise, replaced with more socials ( like the ill-famed Red Party, right field ) and events like the Dating Game. 2. When searching for friendship, cast a wide net. Years ago, the Poz Cruise provided separate events for the homosexual men and the ( by and large female ) heterosexuals. It just didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate feel right to be kept apart. The gays actually loved the sense of family the women brought onboard, and the women loved our rejoice and eldritch ability to nail loungewear. The groups joined forces, and nowadays some of the deepest bonding has nothing to do with sexual orientation course or any of the other ways in which we often separate ourselves from potential friendships. It ’ s an important lesson for us all.

3. A zip line is the great equalizer. It does not matter if that hunk you have been cruising by the pool puts the mucho in macho. When you have been pushed off a wooden platform a million feet above the earth and are whizzing across a thin steel cable, everyone screams like a female child. not that there ’ second anything improper with that. ( There ’ s some preferably acrobatic energy lining happening in the cruise video, above. ) Mud Masks 4. Long term survivors are particularly hungry for community. Growing older is never a picnic – and that goes double for a gay man – but long-run HIV survivors have extra challenges ranging from survivor ’ second guilt to post-traumatic stress perturb. “ farseeing clock time survivors actually love the idea of getting aside from it all with friends who truly get it, ” said Paul Stalbaum, the travel agent who has organized the Poz Cruise for the final 12 years and is a longtime survivor himself. “ That may be why therefore many ’ men of a certain old age ’ join the Poz Cruise each year, ” Stalbaum added. “ The older survivors bond over shared histories while the younger cruisers have a ready-made group of ripen friends and mentors. ” If everyone rallies together for an afternoon of mud masks on the beach ( above ), all the better.

5. Sharing our greatest challenge is the very thing than can help someone else. Before I said a news to other cruisers, I already knew them. Or at least, I knew a large and significant contribution of their lives. Being in each other ’ s caller, whether or not the topic of HIV came up in conversation, brought a kind of immediate affair that is unmanageable to describe. It reminded me that the mean of life is to take that about which we have the most shame or difficulty and use it as a tool to help person else. The 2016 HIV Cruise Retreat is a caribbean voyage from Ft. Lauderdale, October 29 – November 6th. Find out more here or contact agentive role Paul Stalbaum at 888-640-7447 .

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