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"Dear Dave ...": The Virus Writes Back!

By Dave R.

April 29, 2012

This blog entry was written in response to the "Write a Letter to HIV" Campaign. Find out how you can be part of this campaign, and write your own letter to -- or from -- HIV.

Are you surprised? Seriously! How can you be surprised? You knew all about me before we met and let me remind you ... you knew what to expect! How many friends had I killed, with you watching me do it and yet still determined to get into bed with me eventually? Oh please, don't tell me you never meant for this to happen! You pretty much knew how to avoid it, or am I wrong?

So friend, excuse me if I don't shed a tear for your predicament. I've been accused of being many things but compassionate isn't one of them; it's not built into my DNA. Apart from that, let's be honest, you've not got it that bad pal. Okay, you've been through a few medication regimes; had a few uncomfortable secondary infections and now have neuropathy which you claim has ruined your life! Well boo hoo! A little pain and physical exhaustion never killed anyone (and God knows I've tried!) so count your lucky stars, it could have been much worse.

What's that you say? You do appreciate that others have it much, much worse? Oh how good of you; can you see my sneer? A bit of a cop-out don't you think? What you mean to say is, thank God that others are worse off than you and let me remind you, God had very little to do with it!

Every day I can still hear you thinking that it's all going to get better soon. There's still a tiny part of you that thinks that one day you're going to wake up and life will be back to normal. That makes me giggle. All you're going to do is one day wake up and smell the roses and they don't smell of optimism! Anyway, who's to say you'd have learned your lesson? You'd probably pick me up again somewhere, somehow! You're stuck with me I'm pleased to say; another convert on the road to world domination and damn the scientists who've managed to keep you and the rest of the so called survivors alive this long. Oh well, never mind, I've still got Africa and Asia and don't get me going about the business potential in Russia, Eastern Europe and China. I've got enough deals going on there to keep me busy for decades to come.

You never mentioned it but back to your guilt complex; there must be enough potential there to stress you to death and all those others who are wracked with guilt over what's happened to them. I also happen to have influence over the mind you know and the longer you all live, the stronger that influence will become. Happy days! Oh wait, you're one of those who doesn't really feel guilty aren't you? You've swallowed the politically correct BS that tells you nobody was meant to die of sex and the fault is all mine! Wise up buddy; sex has killed people throughout history. Syphilis was a colleague of mine until they found the right antibiotics but he's still around. The Middle Ages right up to the 19th century were good times for him and various plague relatives but he doesn't kill so much anymore although he can still make lives miserable enough. So don't blame me buddy boy; it's like blaming the chickens for bird flu. The blame is all yours ... feeling better yet?

Remember Tony, or Steve, or his friend (the name slips my mind and apparently yours too ... shame on you)? Remember how they were in the last months? Sure you do but you prefer not to, don't you? Don't you think that if you'd been thinking of those faces and their blotchy bodies and skin and bones, you might have been able to cancel the appointment with me? How many Aids films did you cry over? How many Aids novels did you read, with bottled up horror? How many times were you told about another of my victims and felt the lump in your conscience grow bigger? So give me a god dammed break! I'm not the one to blame; the spider's raison d'être is catching the fly! I was just hanging around and you blundered with full awareness into my web. You can't even blame alcohol or drugs can you? Yeah I know you tried but ... Hello! Choices! They were all yours.

Strange eh! You've got to give me credit; I found the one human weakness that's common to just about everybody. Lust is a beauty and can always be relied on. I know, drugs needles and blood transmissions were co-conduits but I have to confess, they were more like happy accidents. I am still getting quite a few clients from those sources and by the way, I can't say I agree with free needles and junky tolerance. C'mon, the fun is in swapping and sharing them a few times!

It's the perfect sting. Humans aren't going to give up lust; it's one way to escape from the rest of their miserable lives and so long as I can use the human metro to travel from one body to another, I win every time. Oh wait, not every time! I forgot about condoms. They are irritating but luckily they're irritating for me and you both, so enough men leave them off and toss the dice ... win, win!

Another of my ace cards is that many people now think that I'm a "treatable" disease and don't take me seriously any more. You thought that didn't you? Yeah you did; just a little bit! A few pills a day to keep the virus away: you wish! I got that bit of advertising free but you all forget that suppressing me is not getting rid of me!

Anyway, within a few decades all you people from the first wave will be dead anyway, so let me talk about the youngsters. Now there's a rich source for the future. Carefree, loving sex, hating condoms and open to persuasion -- my sort of people! I almost wish I could be an extreme, right wing Republican, or an Iranian Mullah and campaign for family values again. Ha, family values, that was always a hoot! Fifty percent divorce rates sort of make a mockery of that don't they? But I digress, the youngsters are my future and they don't have the inbuilt nightmares of having seen me in action, like you guys. You're dinosaurs now; they don't believe you; can't identify with you; it never happened! Now that's how to spin a virus. Although, first-hand witnessing never stopped you did it? Feeling guilty now? Not even a tiny bit? Maybe you are a hard nut to crack! Oh wait, you took me on ... actually you were a pushover!

Oh, I see, now you're saying that you're a fatalist? Que sera, sera and all that clichéd crap. You're the type who says that if it's your time, you can't do anything about it; or if the bus hits you, you were powerless to change what happened and getting HIV and neuropathy, plus lung problems and arthritis was either predetermined or a product of life's chaos theories. Well keep thinking that pal, if it makes you feel better. However, one day, maybe your last day, you'll wake up to see the truth for what it was. It's been nice knowing you really it has but don't fool yourself: letting me into your life I took to be an invitation, not a result of fate. How does that fit in with your "positive outlook!"

With my best interests at heart,

Send Dave an email.

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See Also
More on Prose and HIV/AIDS

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Cecilia (Kampala, Uganda) Wed., May. 16, 2012 at 9:36 am UTC
Very interesting read. I wish everyone could read this!
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Comment by: mado (South Africa) Fri., May. 11, 2012 at 3:52 am UTC
After reading this, I felt a need to inform people about it - In my opion I think everyone must read this especially those that are negative to start thinking about the choices that they have, cause we have the power to stop the spread of HIV. Taking it to the youth centres at church in our communities because the more informed we are the better we are in making the right choice.

South Africa
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Comment by: Paul (Los Angeles) Mon., May. 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm UTC
Hey Doug, you're not alone feeling like crap after reading. Me too. I wish I could say that I had phenomenal sex and blew earth-shattering loads the night I got pozzed. But it's so effin long ago, I don't even remember...another lifetime. I hope someone negative picks up on this thread, just to give one horny, good-lookin guy a second's pause before not thinking, doing something that can't be undone. In the meantime, I hope you don't try to bottle it all inside. We need to spill our guts...

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Comment by: Stigma (thebodydotcom) Mon., May. 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm UTC
Hey, thanks for taking the time to check me out today. I'm glad that you were able to make the casual connetion between HIV and bad behavior. Its remarkable because almost no one feels a need to do this when they get any other STD. Its a nifty little double standard, and I'm proud to say I helped out.

BTW, putting a good dose of blame on a HIV website? A STROKE OF GENIUS! I can just slip right by when I get this stamp of approval from the "HIV community".

I feed off this kind of attention, so keep it coming! If you ever feel like it doesn't make sense, just remember, you're "taking ownership" of your infection. W00T!

Sometimes, I think that HIV as a virus get too much attention, and I get jealous. Oh, sure, there are some nasty complications to it, and its killed a lot of people, but its influence is waning, especially in the developed world. I, on the other hand, still routinely push 20 year olds to kill themselves, forcibly segregate children and imprison innocent people for being "a danger to society". If the virus ever is relegated to just a routine "chronic disease", I'm proud to say that I'll still be wreaking havoc until its cured. Thats kinda my thing. I did it with Syph. I did it with HBV. I bet ya'll thought leprosy was a blast, huh? I was just a rookie with that one. Just wait'll you see what I can do with a little PR in the information age! I'm envisioning social ghettos, but we'll call them "seroconcordant networks", a "personal option for harm reduction". There'll be some unemployment issues in them, and like all ghettos, a lot more diseases. Never mind that they won't actually reduce harm, we'll just cover that up with some statistics.

PS, I especially love the tag in the comments where you steamrolled over someone's complaint by claiming that I'm good for "prevention". That's a really classy move, and it shows how much progress I've made.
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Comment by: Frank (Arizona) Mon., May. 7, 2012 at 3:42 am UTC
That is a harsh but true opinion. Just ask god for forgiveness and try ti be your best possible. It is not going ot end but at least it will make you a better person witha more possitive attitude.
Take care of yourself and others making them aware with advice of Dangers that are carried in having careless sex.
Reply to this comment

Comment by: alex (toronto) Sun., May. 6, 2012 at 2:19 am UTC
Although well written, the article was (un) ? intentionally cruel, in a time like this where people look to others to provide hope or lessons to learn from. This article did neither, too bad... such an opportunity to inspire or teach.
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Douglas (Miami Beach) Thu., May. 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm UTC
I thought I had done a pretty good job of forgiving myself for making the mistake in judgement that led to my becoming infected. But reading this article made me feel like a piece of crap all over again.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: JB (France) Fri., May. 4, 2012 at 9:35 am UTC
@Douglas: so it's a useless article for you, don't read it again. You have the right to forgive you! Don't add on your shoulders the guilt. It will not change the pass. Stay focus as much as you can on being well.

You don't have to feel responsible. It's true that HIV is a far too heavy pain compared to unprotected sex, drinking, drugs or any other risky behavior. Nobody deserves it. In this article, the virus claims that you can make choices and avoid this behaviors. But it's not true. Depression for instance prevents you from making the right choices. In fact, you don't even really know that you have the choice.

Please, be well.

PS: I think this article could be usefull for prevention, as a kick-butt approach.

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HIV, Neuropathy and More: Avoiding Becoming a Nervous Wreck

Dave R.

Dave R.

English but living since 1986 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. HIV+ since 2004 and a neuropathy patient since 2007. I've seen quite a bit, done quite a bit and bought quite a few t-shirts if you know what I mean; but all that baggage makes me what I am today: a better person I believe, despite it all.

Arriving on, originally, was the end result of getting neuropathy as a side effect of the medication, or the virus, or both. I found it such a vague disease and discovered very little information that wasn't commercially tinged, or scientifically impenetrable, so I decided to create a daily Blog and a website where practical information, hints, tips and experiences for patients could be gathered together in one place.

However, I was also given the chance to write about other aspects of living with HIV and have now contributed more articles about those than about neuropathy. That said, neuropathy remains my 'core subject' although one which unfortunately dominates both my life and that of many other HIV-positive people.

I'm not a doctor or qualified medical expert, just someone with neuropathy and HIV who has spent the last few years researching the illness and trying to create information sources for people who want to know more.

I also have my own personal website and write for

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