My Letter to HIV: A Letter From Bryan Collins

Bryan Collins
Bryan Collins

Dear HIV,

It should come as no surprise that I have been talking about you behind your back. It comes easy, because even though you do not know me, I know you very well. People come to see me when they want to talk about you. They tell me the terrible things you’ve done to them, for no other reason than because you can. I have come to see you as a selfish child, running and screaming, knocking expensive things to the floor, careless of the effect of your actions. I have got all the dirt on you, HIV.

And I have gotten exceedingly good at telling it. I speak before groups; at meetings, I am the first to open my mouth. I tell every new story I hear, and I am ravenous for new information. Call it schadenfreude, taking pleasure in another’s misfortune. In my field, snitches do not get stitches, providing they are snitching on you.

It has been a good year for me, HIV, and I hear about you more and more. Every day, more people stand up and talk about you. Every day, the target on your back gets clearer. We’re coming for you, HIV, and when you finally fall, I’ll be there to talk about it.


Bryan Collins
HIV Testing Coordinator
Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry (NOVAM)