Thirteen Years is the story of a friend who died of AIDS in 1999. He contracted the HIV virus in the late 80’s, from the only boyfriend he ever had. The boyfriend hadn’t bothered to let my friend know when he tested positive for HIV. My friend only found out days before his ex-boyfriend died of AIDS in a hospice.
The story is called ‘Thirteen Years’ because my friend passed away thirteen years after he learned he was HIV positive. It’s a story of the early days of HIV, but still relevant today. These stories need to be told.
Because the HIV epidemic is still not over.
HIV is still part of our lives.
According to UNAIDS 37.7 million people across the world lived with HIV in 2020. Over 1 million Americans are living with HIV today. According to HIV.gov, 13 percent of them don’t know they’re infected and need to be tested. Closer to home, in The Netherlands, an estimate of 24.000 people live with HIV, but about 7% of them don’t even know they are HIV positive.
The only way to know is to test.
The latest statistics from HIV.gov reveal there were nearly 35,000 new HIV diagnoses in the United States. The HIV epidemic is still severe among ethnic minorities and gay and bisexual men.
In 2020, 1.5 million people worldwide became newly infected with HIV. Those are the people who received the diagnosis, who had themselves tested.
“Testing saves lives. Even though HIV diagnoses have decreased throughout the years, tens of thousands will still be infected with the disease this year,”~ Dr. David Jayne, the Medical Director of STDcheck.com.
When you test positive for HIV, you can receive treatment for it. Not knowing is worse than knowing because you can infect others when having unprotected sex. When you receive successful treatment for HIV, you cannot infect others.
Once more, when you are in the US, std testing is the way to go. Call STDcheck.com at 1-800-456-2323 and let the customer service representative know you are the reader of the blog Rebel’s Notes to receive your free HIV test.
When my friend visited us in The Netherlands, he ended up in hospital, severely ill. At the time we didn’t know it, but when back in South Africa they told him: you have AIDS. HIV causes AIDS. His last months were horrible. Pain. Infections. Frequent hospitalization. Loss of hair. Loss of weight. Weakness. He kept a smile on his face, but he suffered.
Please, if you have unprotected sex, get tested frequently.
The above offer for free HIV tests is for US people, but if you are anywhere else in the world, go to your health officials – a nurse, your doctor, or a health clinic – and ask to be tested!
© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay