Gonna jump right into this:
Months ago, an old boyfriend from long ago painstakingly revealed to me when we met for coffee after running into each other randomly that he was HIV +. I detected a deep sorrow, fear and regret in him that despite his best efforts to hide, forced his face and other body language into tattle-telling. It was my birthday. Something was very wrong yet I knew it had nothing to do with me. He had remembered my kindness and trustworthy nature and concluded that I was the best person outside of his family most likely to solicit & receive empathy from. I hadn’t seen him in at least 5 years, and it’s been much, much longer since we were intimate. He knew I was the one unaffected by this whom he could trust. I didn’t disappoint him. I wasn’t afraid of this revelation at all – I had only protected sex w/him years back & had myself been tested multiple reasons in the span of years for whatever reason.
I had donated blood & plasma as recently as the month of his revelation. It wasn’t the first time. A few years earlier I did it to obtain life insurance. Again when I switched policies last year, and once voluntarily at a health fair I participated in on behalf of my employer at the time. A hospital rep I had quickly bonded with that day asked me if I’d take a test to “unfrighten” (made up word as far as I know – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but my spell check is screaming red-no time to check, this is important). The problem? The bulk of women and men in attendance would rather not know their status to avoid discovery of a devastating disease with potentially a lifetime of secrets and lying. It ain’t lying if you remain ignorant for too many. This was probably certain death in their minds. They had no desire to experience something so devastating and life-altering. Truth. They knew the risks they took with their own lives. They knew they had engaged in Russian Roulette. I was unafraid & just as confident as they were. Willful, self-imposed ignorance can be deadly.
She asked me to make public everything relevant. I said “sure” without hesitation. In doing this I know I reached into the depths of at least one person. As it turns out, we reached 34 out of 200. I don’t know how many were HIV+. That wasn’t disclosed to me for obvious reasons. Many others were so confident they were negative so that they ignored us. Atlanta has extremely high rates of new HIV cases. So many are under age 25. We’re talking third world numbers in the black community here. Some of those who passed by shouldn’t have. They’ve probably infected others by now. Those others have likely infected others, and so on. *Sigh*. I know so much about this disease. I can’t claim ignorance, but even I hesitated to touch him that day. How could I do that armed with so much detailed knowledge? What the heck? This isn’t right. T!!!!!!! God help me. Forgive me. Enlighten me. Enable me to share when the time comes. I realized later, that it was a knee-jerk reaction to the reality, that had I not protected myself so much over the years, I’d could’ve been a statistic just as he was. Yeah……..
Until next musing,