This is the first of many blogs to tell a story 5 years in the making.
For 5 years now I have been fighting the results of a mistake I can not even pinpoint. When I first learned I was HIV positive it was almost a relief. After nearly 5 months of one constant illness after another being poked and prodded and having hoses inserted from either end with no immediate explanation, I finally received a hand delivered note asking me to drop by the local county health dept. The note said nothing else, but I was pretty damn sure what it would say. However within hours of getting the letter, my aunt died in Alabama and I was wisked away for a quick 3 day trip to attend her funeral in Alabama.
lt was a nice cover for how I was feeling inside, the tears that flowed over the next two days served a twofold purpose, I was mourning my aunt but also accepting the fact that I probably was HIV positive and would soon be finding out that death was coming my way soon. As I gazed into the open casket of Aunt Lois, just like they show in the movies, my mind began to play tricks and I imagined myself laying there, with family standing around whispering the rumors of what happened. Would they tell the truth or would some elaborate story be concocted to cover the embarrassing fact I my grandmothers favorite grandchild, as some of the aunts love to say, had died from that awful "gay" disease. I have to thank my cousin Cindy who drove the 10 plus hours up and back, I think we took advantage of years since we last hung out to speak of many things, sadly I don't remember what the subjects were , but they were important at the time.
Well once the funeral had been attended and the return trip to the Tampa area complete the next big thing was to report to the health dept. It would be almost cliche to say it was a surreal event, I was sure what was coming, but still the lady at the front desk played along with the super secret stealthy code on the letter I had received. I was to see Lady Whatshername and to give them the word Code Z. Its very nice when you go through the process, they make you wait then bring you back to a room, sit you down and then lay out these computer generated forms. I don't remember what she said something about you know three months ago while in the hospital they had you sign a release form, blah blah blah, blah.. yada yada, I know I cut her off and said let me guess I have HIV. Yes she said. Now this is the weird part, I actually felt some relief , after months of being sick for undetermined reasons at least now I had the answer. I felt good, with the knowledge that at least something had finally been determined.
After that there were forms to sign, a request for a list of recent sexual partners, and then another blood test to double check the findings.
I left the health department that day in a daze, I can't even remember what I was thinking.
Well that is part one. This is a five year recap so much more to follow.