The Fortune Teller
By Philip D.
February 3, 2010
For-tune n. an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another.
Two years ago, I tested positive for HIV. Figures it would happen on the longest night of the year. Actually, it felt more like the longest night of my life, and to say I was blindsided would be putting it mildly. Why else would I get tested the week of Christmas with 10 days off and no particular Holiday plans? In between grocery shopping and picking up my dry cleaning, I dropped in to the neighborhood Rapid Testing site since it had been over a year since my last results.
They took a drop of my blood, the councilor and I did the usual ten minute Q&A and while he went to fetch the results, I used the time to text the hottie that I had been seeing for the last month. Should have known something was up, it was taking way too long. At last, the novice volunteer returned to deliver the news with a look that I can only describe as a boy that was just informed that his puppy was hit by a car. My first reaction was to ask him, "Are you okay?"
Alright, so maybe I was under reacting but there was clearly a mistake made. (I was sure that I was that 1 in 250,000 false positives) After taking more blood for the more sensitive Western Blot test, they started a barrage of questions about past sexual partners and if I would like to notify them via the San Francisco Health Department. "Do we have to do this right now!?!" as my world seemed to tilt on its axis.
Although I suppose I had prepared for this moment for 25 years, I literally walked home from the testing site, in a daze. Basically, the only sex I had was safer and so I really never figured I'd ever be "poz." I've been a sexually active man since before there was even talk of HIV, 18 years of that, in San Francisco. I knew the drill and the risks involved and tested negative more times than I could count.
So maybe it's only been three years since HIV in-fected me but I assure you it's been almost 30 since it began aff-ecting me. It permeated my every sexual encounter like the buzz kill to end all buzz kills and even when I was in a monogamous relationship, it was still always there in the very back of my head.
At last, I was bit by the very monster I ran from most of my adult life. In the strangest of ways, as much as it hurt, it feels rather good to not have to run any more.
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A Positive Spin
After testing HIV positive in 2007, I promised myself that I would make something "good" from all that I was handed. From the very beginning, each time I was presented with an obstacle or challenge, I also received some help. Usually in the form of a person, sometimes an opportunity; but I have grown so much, it has made it impossible for me to call the past few years "bad." Although I've never written much of anything before, I have been so incredibly fortunate, I feel like I must pay it forward somehow. Maybe by sharing my experience, it will help those starting later in the game, on the fast track to HAART, or anyone that's feeling a bit isolated or "stuck" with their diagnosis.
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August 24, 2015 - If I Say His Name: A Blog Entry by Philip D.
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April 12, 2013 - My Inner Critic Takes a Holiday: A Blog Entry by Philip D.
February 16, 2013 - My Canine Confidante: A Blog Entry by Philip D.
January 10, 2013 - Happy Anniversary, HIV. I Hate You. A Blog Entry by Philip D.
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