It was a dark moment on a dark November day 2012 when my life was set to change. At least for the time being my body was bound to experience change. I didnt know about my infection until 6 months later. The guy I got the HIV from wasn’t a random date, we had been seeing each other for nearly half a year being regular sexual partners. We said we weren’t exclusive due to him having to travel a lot for work and also because we weren’t in a romantic relationship. Still, neither I nor I believe him had a lot of other partners during that time.
Being a gay man, I grew up always being reminded of the disease and always faced with the issue of safer sex. Anal sex in the passive role bears the highest risk of all sexual practices for a HIV transmission because of the sensibility of the inner intestinal wall. And so the doom and fear of getting infected came along with discovering my sexuality. It was the early 90s and the news and TV were full of horrific images of AIDS victims dying and their dreadful suffering. All of which burned themselves into my young mind.
There were not many instances were I was uncareful in my sexual life, less than a handful, at least when it comes to random dates. And all of those few times I was worried sick for the next three months required to wait until one can get tested (it may take up to three months for HIV antibodies to show in the blood test). I am guilty though of being uncareful with most of my relationships, there have been four so far. For three of them it was love from the start and the emotions were stronger than the senses. Being in love made me trust the other person and also want to fully unite sexually so much more that I was willing to take the risk. With this guy it wasn’t love, so it happened a bit differently.
In the beginning of our relations we were using condoms. After a few months being regulars the issue of safer sex came up. He told me that he was getting tested once a year and that he was sure he didnt have HIV because he hadn’t had a risk situation since his last test. We still wanted to do a test to be sure for both sides and we tried three times to go together to a doctor that we had already picked. Yet it never happened. Everytime he had to cancel, he said because of work and being busy. At the time I believed him, because I trusted him. Also, the frustration of trying to get a test date together led me to rely on his words and I guess I was also blinded by his social status. How could a smart university professor and globally active scientist be HIV positive after all? Of course this wasn’t a reflected thought, but a subconsious emotional evaluation I had made without reasoning. Something that now gives me a lot to think about.
Then that night in November, it was the last sexual relation I had to this person. In fact, I wasnt sure if I wanted to see him at all again before I went that night. He had been away for several weeks for work and in that time I had been contemplating our relationship and was thinking that it would be better to end it because romantically it wasnt going anywhere. I felt the relationship kept me from being open to a more meaningful one with someone else. So when he came back from Paris, first I didnt even want to meet him again, at least not for sex. But then, on that rainy and dark November day I did. One last time I went and it was that night that I got infected. A few weeks later I got very, very sick.