T could have been for training, tongue, tits or threesome. But like with some other letters, one word shot into my mind the moment I saw the letter and no matter what I did, I could not forget it. Maybe the Wicked Wednesday prompt for this week had something to do with it.
Fifteen years ago I watched a friend die. I wasn’t there when at the moment of his death, but I was there when they took his medicine away, because the medicine made him sicker than he already was. And there was no other medicine for him to take. He went without medicine for 6 months, and died.
My friend died of AIDS.
He was one of the first men who was diagnosed to be HIV positive back in 84/85. I got to know him as a colleague in ’89 and he became a friend. Only in ’96 I learned that he was HIV positive. This did not change my friendship for him. Or no, wait, that’s a lie. It did change it. We became even closer. We corresponded a lot – first sending each other real letters and then later, when he had Internet at home, sending each other long emails once a week. He told me his entire life story and said that he wanted to write it down, to write a book about it. He died before he could do it. I used the letters and emails and I wrote his story for him. His story was one of the books I self-published.
This friend of mine was gay. He had a boyfriend from roundabout ’80 or ’81 and he was faithful to his boyfriend. He never slept around. The same could not be said for the man he was in love with. My friend’s boyfriend used drugs and fucked around with other men, not using any protection. The boyfriend knew he was HIV positive long before my friend knew it. Only on the day one of their mutual friends – and one the boyfriend had been fucking around with – died, did my friend learn that his boyfriend was HIV positive. By then their relationship was almost non-existent. My friend had himself tested and learned that he was HIV positive, that he had been infected by the only one he loved and the only one he was ever intimate with.
My friend kept his being HIV positive a secret. He fell in love many times, but he never had a relationship again. He never told any of us – his colleagues and friends – about being HIV positive. We all learned about it when he almost died in ’96. Only a handful of friend stayed at his side. The others abandoned him. He had three more good years before he got sick again… and the rest, as they say, is history.
So, safe sex? Yes, for sure. Practicing safe sex in my writing? Yes, if it fits in my story and needs to be said, condoms will be used. Seeing someone die from a terminal disease had been quite a traumatic experience and when I wrote the book, it was like I went through it all again. Up to now I have not been brave enough to work anything of this experience into my writing, but maybe one day I will.
One last thought on HIV and AIDS… I know I have been lucky. I slept around, fucked around, had one night stands, etcetera, but never once have I suffered from a STD and I know I am not HIV positive. I have been tested, because about a year or so after my friend died, I suddenly panicked and wondered whether without knowing, I might be HIV positive too. Thankfully I wasn’t, and I know I have been lucky. I am not one to preach, but please, use your common sense in your sexual adventures and practice safe sex at all times! You might know where you have been and with who, but you never know that of your ‘not-permanent’ sex partner(s)!
Seeing someone die of AIDS is not a nice thing to experience… being the one dying of AIDS even less so!
© Rebel’s Notes
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This post also links in with the A-Z Blogging Challenge
T = Terminal