Have you ever read the works of a writer that you'd never met, yet you felt an inexplicable connection to? I have. His name was Robert DeAndreis. Five years ago, nearly the beginning of my life with HIV, I wrote a short post here on TheBody.com on how I spent the hours just before receiving confirmation of my diagnosis. In it, I shared about the power of Robert's words, the unique comfort they provided, and the loss I felt upon learning of his death.
My wife Dionne and I have lived with AIDS since 1984. I am HIV+, she is not. We have experienced the kind of suffering that families affected by HIV go through. We talk to people all of the time about the different circumstances and emotions that heterosexuals have to negotiate while either living with, or protecting themselves from, HIV.
I had never really thought about how my diagnosis affected HIM or anyone else in my family. All I do is take pills and I do not appear sick to anyone, so my own issues with HIV are mostly mental.
Did you hear the one about the musical comedy with HIV?
When actor and writer Charles Sanchez began writing his web series, Merce, he joined the ranks of a fairly small club: Those of us living with HIV/AIDS who have mined our lives for comedy.
Any campaign that blends living with HIV with a sense of empowerment and joy always grabs my attention. Stigma remains one of the most damaging forces in our struggle to both combat new infections and support those of us with the virus.
This led to a perfect "why do you ask that question(?) moment." I am not saying that folks have not contracted HIV through a transfusion, because it was commonplace, until organizations/institutions began tightening up on checking blood supplies.
I'm overlooking Atlanta as my heart types the words bubbling to come forth. I've finally gotten here, in the place of not desiring love as much as I used to. I ran after so many people for so long trying to keep them around when in reality I wasn't as much as a second thought. From Corey telling me I was the one and then reneging the next day (will explain in a later flashback blog) to bad date after bad date and mediocre sex, I've grown extremely overit.com. Lately this marriage business has been a hot topic being that I'm observing various scenarios surrounding it. From my brother Quenton marrying his long term partner Alfonce (CONGRATS TO THEM BOTH!! I LOVE YOU) to dealing with it head on when the question was posed "AM I READY TO COMMIT?" to a friend of a friend cheating on his husband with another friend of my friend who are mutual friends (I hope that made sense) after being married only since February. It's scary, annoying, redundant and somewhat unnecessary all at once. I could be speaking from my slightly cynical views due to too many bad endings and cliffhangers in my own story or it could stem from the ten years of experiences inhabiting among the shady paunchy and basic, tiresome internet hookups, "no fat no fem policies" and bylaws, bad advertising of solaces and misleading social brochures.
I found out that I was HIV positive when my wife and I were tested when we became pregnant with our youngest son. We had been having unprotected sex for four years, in spite of my history with IV drug use. I had been blessed to be clean and sober for the four years we were together prior to our getting pregnant, but denial prevented us from believing that I could possibly be positive. I was elated when my wife's test came back negative. Through God's grace, she remains HIV negative. I thought her diagnosis was a good sign for her and our child, and possibly me too, but my luck was not as good. My test revealed that I was HIV positive.
We are always in a rush, we go to bed too late and we have to wake up too early; we snooze to get an extra five minutes of sleep before work. We make quick easy meals after work so we have more time to spend with our kids at the end of the day. We rush around like chickens with our heads cut off to juggle laundry, cleaning the house, the car, the yard.
My past post "Yes, I Have HIV but I Am Not HIV Positive" has received a lot of mixed emotions and reactions.
Many people supported what I was writing about while others not so much.
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