Love and Life After an HIV Diagnosis

There has only been once that I've gotten a "Yeah...and so am I" response when disclosing.

(Miss you, Damion.)

Via NPR:

Chris Whitney lived in San Francisco in the 1980s, when there wasn't much known about AIDS. But then he tested positive for HIV in 1985. He explains what happened next to his friend Erin Kuka.

"The first person I told was the person I was dating at the time, and that was pretty much the last conversation I had with him," Whitney says. "You know, the fear just took over. That kind of made me really wary about opening up to people.

"So, I decided to do some traveling. And I met a Frenchman who would become my partner for the next 10 years," he says. "And I was freaked out about telling him. I was like, 'Well, I have to tell you something. I, you know — I'm HIV positive.' And his response was, 'Yeah, and so?' And I thought, 'OK, he didn't understand that.'"

"Language barrier," Kuka says.

"Right," Whitney says.

Believing that Alexandre Coda didn't understand what "HIV" meant, Whitney explained — and Coda listened.

"And he said, 'Yeah. No, I understand, and so am I. And, so what?'" Whitney says. "And I was so blown away by that response. I was so used to always being the person who was positive meeting somebody who was negative. It didn't occur to me that I would meet somebody who was also positive."


Tim said…
Actually, we all kind of hope for a day when there's a vaccine and meeting someone who has HIV is pretty rare. Our response will then be, "Oh, you got it before the vaccine. Dang."

You should be meeting people whose response is, "Yeah, so what?" HIV does not define you, just as cancer or having a cold does not define you. You deal with it, the way you would deal with cerebral palsy or a broken leg. But it does not define you.

Those who cower in fear before HIV neither understand the disease, nor do they understand how love operates in a real friendship or relationship.
Writer said…
As we know with both cancer (should I whisper that) and AIDS (should I whisper that too) and Susan Sontag's two very good books Cancer and Its Metaphors and AIDS and Its Metaphors any chance to make some a leper, Americans do it.

And a vaccine will only do that moreso. As would legalizing gay marriage. Those who don't want to get gay married will be made to fill even more out on the edges of society.

Tim said…
Sontag's wrong, and you should not listen to her.

As for vaccine, it makes having sex with people with HIV non-threatening. I don't see how it would ostracize seropositive people more. You've got to find a rationale for that to convince me.

Although theoretically, you should be right about gay marriage, I think in the long run that gay people will find that most LGBTQs simply do not want to be married. Gay people have spent centuries creating their own social institutions. The assimilators "won" by pushing for gay marriage and dragging the rest of the LGBTQ community with it. But in the end, most gay people don't want it. They want the freedom they have.

Know what I think? I think that, more and more, it's not the "unmarried fag" that's going to be ostracized. It'll me the un-partnered homosexual. "With so much freedom to come out, date, and be queer, what is wrong with you that you aren't partnered???" That ostracism is coming, and coming very fast and hard.
Writer said…
Tim, I DO think Sontag is right. That AIDS's stigma comes from people thinking that it is a disease that you "deserve" cause of your promiscuous "gay" lifestyle or whatever. In the same way that you "deserve" cancer because you smoke or eat lots of carcinogens. Not that SHE thinks we "deserve" it; she's just pointing out what has happened in society.

As for marriage, why why WHY do we want to be part of a system, an institution that is so broken? If it were up to me, I'd abolish marriage all together and give ever civil unions so that everyone has the same benefits under the law. And then if you want you could go get married by some church, but it'd be totally unnecessary. Everyone would be equal and all you'd have to do is go down to the county clerks office and sign in as a couple and BAM - you'd be a legal couple and you'd have the same protections under the law - you know, even if every six months you signed in with a new person.

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