As we enter into the 4th decade of the AIDS epidemic, I wonder if this thing is ever going to be cured.
Today, the drug cocktails are so strong that they can greatly reduce the HIV levels in those infected, but they never really cure the disease. Of course diet and exercise play an important role, as I am sure positivity does as well. A while back Magic Johnson’s doctors proclaimed that his levels were so low that they were undetectable. They never said he was cured but that the levels were so low that his immune system appeared nearly perfect.
Even with that said, the virus is still contagious.
I used to know a guy named Marty. He was a great guy. Full of energy, and quite chatty. We talked almost once a week at a cafe that I used to go to after school. We hung out at the cafe and we talked about all kinds of random things. Then one day he told me he was HIV positive. I was so sad. This guy who was so full of life may have it cut short? How can that be fair? Of course this was in the 90’s, so the advances that we have now weren’t the same. During summer break, I think it was all of August, I didn’t make it to the cafe. When I went back in September, he wasn’t there. I don’t know if he moved or if he just got tired of talking to a dumb kid. Hell, he may have even passed away. I don’t know. I just kept thinking that it was such a waste that someone with that kind of spirit had to move on sooner than one would expect.
In the 80’s when the world first learned about HIV/AIDS, there were all these crazy things being said, like you can catch it by using the same bathroom and stuff. Luckily, some schools were quick to put into place a “task force” as it were, of students to act as educators to other students. I don’t know why but this particular disease always bothered me the most. Actually, no, that’s a bit of a lie. I was thinking I would edit that out, but I feel like when moments like this happen, it’s best to leave what’s written alone. Sorry, I just had a brief conversation with myself.
Anyway, I just said I didn’t know why AIDS struck me so profoundly, but I DO know why. It’s because of all the hate that I saw. Everyone was saying that it’s a curse for the gays and that only fags can get it. That it was what we deserved for following our hearts and loving another person that just happens to have the chromosomes that we do (XX or XY). I know that being in middle school and knowing that I was a big ‘mo, may seem unlikely, but I assure you, I’ve known since kindergarten. But that’s another story. Being a gay male, did this mean that AIDS was supposed to be meant for me as well? I saw the pictures of the lesions and the end result of the people who passed away. They looked so thin and gaunt. Like they’ve used the last bit of their life force to fight off the virus only to be defeated.
So I joined that student task force. I attended the meetings. I talked about “safer” sex to everyone that would listen. They called it safer, because no sexual act is without it’s dangers. The condom could break or maybe a bite accidentally draws blood. I would try my best to dispel the myths about how one can contract the virus. Unlike the rhinovirus, and lucky for us, HIV has not mutated to the point where it is an airborne threat.
Hopefully, I get the word soon that I will be joining the AIDS LifeCycle this coming summer. I’ll be hitting you all up for donations. hahaha. I guess I better hop on my bike!
So on this World AIDS Day, I wish you all health and vitality. Take care of yourselves, and your bodies as well as your spirit.
Do you know your status? Here’s a site that has resources on every level, so no matter where you are, there is some thing for you to guide you in the right direction.