Today I saw a young man who believes he saw the face of death, and it was in the mirror. He doesn’t realize yet that a positive HIV result is not the quick death sentence that it used to be. But it will absolutely change his quality of life and shorten it. He looked about twenty years old.
His boyfriend paced just outside the entrance with a cigarette, waiting for his turn in the clinic. He looked at the floor when he walked by the desk at the AIDS support center. I didn’t see either of them leave, but my heart and prayers went with them. Life has changed irrevocably for them both.
If this doesn’t apply to you, it does apply to someone you know:
HIV is still out there, and it continues to spread at an alarming rate in both hetero- and homosexual communities. It comes down to this: don’t even ask a potential partner their sero status; just assume every time the answer is positive. The best answer they can give you is the result of the last test they had, and it may have changed since then. They may honestly not know. It is not worth the risk to trust the answer “No, I’m negative.”
Always, always, always use a condom. Always. And understand that there is still a possibility, however small, of transmission. (It isn't "safe" sex, it's "safer" sex.)
Just as is the case in all risky situations, you must measure risk vs. reward. Is there a balance? With HIV, there is no reward worth the risk of this disease. Someone you know knows someone with AIDS. It’s out there, and it’s still infecting people. It’s preventable. Don’t allow yourself or someone you know to get stung.