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You couldn't say you had AIDS

In March,1993 David was diagnosed with AIDS. He decided that he really wanted to go to the States. But we knew that there would be a problem as the visa application inquired as to his health. You couldn't say you had AIDS. You just wouldn't get a visa and that would be that. So we lied. No health problems at all. And we got the visa.


But what about this big bag of pills that he had to take every day? Would this cause alarm bells to ring as we passed through customs? We decided that it could give the game away so contacted the Victorian AIDS Council for assistance and advice. The Treatments Officer advised that we should send over a 6 week supply to an address in The States prior to leaving. David did as advised and we left for the holiday of a lifetime.


We arrived and settled in to be wild and carefree - we shouldn't have a worry as the drugs David's health depended on were sitting waiting for him at a San Francisco AIDS organisation.

But our first job was to get the treatments. After much banging on doors with no one answering, we discovered that we had been given an address years old and that the precious drugs were nowhere to be found. David was frustrated, unwell and grumpy


After many phone calls, we found the AIDS organisation. They affirmed that the drugs had not been received and thus set about supplying us with drugs which those who had lost the battle to AIDS had left to give someone else a chance. Remember, health care and pharmaceutical supplies are really expensive in USA. And when David tried to get an appointment with a doctor to give him a script for the drugs he didn't get, the first five he called refused to see him. The one who did, gave him a script after a 10 minute appointment and charged him $150. The drugs were extra.

Then the holiday began in earnest. The first night we went out, we were coerced into buying some "sparkle" which we thought was "speed". Yes, we bought it off the street but we thought the worst it would do is not work. It was initially a letdown. Our noses and tongues started tingling and itched. After 20 minutes we just felt dull. That didn't stop David picking up a really spunky man and disappearing on me, though. On a Thursday night in San Fran everything closes at 2am. So I went back to the hotel room hoping David would be OK. He was - there in the other bed with Joe's arm up his bum grunting "I love it." It was very hard to get to sleep that night.

The next morning the phone rang at about 9 o'clock. I felt really seedy - and I'm sure David was a little worse for wear, too. It was David's mum ringing from Melbourne. It seemed that the drugs that went astray had ended up with the Food and Drug Authority and they had rung David's parents wanting David's contact details. Mum had given them without really thinking of the consequences and was now in a panic, sure that we would be frog-marched to the airport - after only 2 days!

Within half an hour we were completely packed and checked out, struggling up the street behind the rough trade who just so happened to work at another hotel that had a room vacant on that Friday and Saturday night at the height of the SF tourist season (lucky, huh?). Then the "sparkle" really started to work. As soon as we arrived, David vomited. Miraculously, he felt a lot better after that. Then I started vomiting - and shitting. It was choice. I felt unsure of my survival all day and lay in bed groaning with a headache that would kill a cow while David and Joe went sight seeing. Diagnosed as rat poison, I can vouch for the potency of the drugs available off the streets of San Francisco. While they were easier to obtain than prescription drugs, the affects could not be relied upon. I did live through it and so did David. I felt pretty shaky for a couple of days but was able to muster up the energy to go to a nude dance party the next night. It was lots of lying around with a beautiful man, eating the yummiest fresh fruit and watching all these men cavort on the dance floor between trips to the tiers for a little slap and tickle.

Drug free, of course!

story by Bruce - 1999, Australia

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