My Letter to HIV: A Letter From Andrew Stewart

Andrew Stewart
Andrew Stewart

Greetings, you son of a bitch ...

Dear HIV,

For the entire time I have existed, you have been reality. I am one of the first generations of 'post-AIDS' LGBTQQ folks, meaning that HIV/AIDS was on this planet before I was. From an early age, when I barely understood what AIDS was, to now, when I know friends living with you in their bodies, you have always haunted the land, a specter or hobgoblin on the horizon.

The fathers in the neighborhood used to warn us about you and how 'It used to be if you were unlucky, you got a shot in the ass. Now you can die!' The school teachers indoctrinated us with safety procedures regarding bodily fluids spilled in class so to prevent potentially furthering your existence. Hell, Tom Hanks even won an Oscar for playing an AIDS patient.

But this has not stopped you. In a world where LGBTQQ folks are still raised to hate themselves, the cult of flesh and a quick high has replaced what we used to call 'pride'. Even though there are now LGBTQQ TV shows, the simple truth is that the gays of my generation are closer to BOYS IN THE BAND than WILL AND GRACE. As such, young men will die from having unprotected sex intentionally. I know of your horrifying and repulsive 'Bug Catcher' cults, which are the darkest versions of internalized homophobia seen in generations. I never will know how you have made men feel like they should literally fuck each other to death. Simply put, you did.

I will also never understand how you were able to convince the Pope and African bishops that you cannot be prevented with contraception. I will never understand how you convinced Ronald Reagan to cut funding to the CDC when you first appeared in New York and San Francisco. I will never understand why, after all the hard work of groups like ACT UP, you still continue to poison innocent people whose only sin was the desire for intimacy and love.

You are simply too much, HIV. I think the sooner we break up and you move out, the better. Oh, and I am keeping the fine china, so don't even think about it. Just go away. No one likes you anymore. You are vile and evil, not me, and I will never apologize again for my homosexuality because of your embarrassing and evil acts.

Andrew Stewart