Views
2 years ago

# HIV HEROES

86 causing me to reflect

86 causing me to reflect on my own life and the decisions I have made so far. A questioning of my goals and motivations that gives them a different meaning. For I feel I carry death in me. And every single day, upon taking my medication, I am given the position to decide whether I want to live or die. “Every single day, for the rest of my life.” That is a strong, and I confess, strange sentence to tell yourself. It is an experience very few people can share. The medication itself is quite a tricky thing. On one hand, every day becomes an affirmation of life. But the implications of these blue pills are still very present—that I cannot take a break from them, that I’m not allowed to forget to take them and that long term consequences are still uncertain are ideas that cause constant pressure. The paranoia of forgetting to take the pills still grabs a hold of me. Not as much as in the first few months, but it still happens. A brief panic attack comes over me every so often, trying to remember whether I have taken them or not. Although two alarms annoyingly remind me of them every single day, I always have to be very present in the moment when taking them. These daily alarms accompany me—not necessarily as a dominating feature, but their presence adds a certain reminder of HIV in my life. Every trip I take to a different time zone must be thoroughly calculated for possible adjustments to my alarms. Often, I have to readjust my intake habits a few days in advance to not diminish the medication’s effect. My poisonous self The second thought that dominated my mind in the first weeks after my diagnosis was neither about my own psychological situation, nor was it about telling my friends and family. Although those two thoughts were very present, there was one other thing that caused me nightmares: the fear that I had infected someone else. The idea that my irresponsible behavior had potentially endangered someone else’s life kept me up at night. I was put in the situation of having to inform three women of my status. Simply having ”that” conversation is bad enough. Had I infected anyone else, I don’t know how I could have lived with the guilt. This situation would be even more difficult than it already is. After accompanying these women to their tests and finding out that I caused no further infections, I was filled with relief—but scared. Even today, with my levels being far below the detection limit, and practically being unable to infect anyone via sexual contact, this fear remains, and it has had a great impact on my sex life. Ease and lightness have gone. For about a year, intimacy was more associated with stress, anxiety and fear than anything else. I trust medicine and my medication—but I’m not entirely sure how much I trust myself yet. Herein lies one of the differences between homo- and heterosexuals. I don’t want to downplay the fear that homosexuals have when thinking about the consequences of infecting someone else—but those consequences for women are much greater than for men. Simply the idea of bearing children has to be taken into consideration. The impact of infecting a woman is, in that sense, much greater than infecting a man. I have my blood tested every three + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +