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My life flashed before me

Hello, I am a 25 yr old, African-American, heterosexual woman who is HIV negative. I took the test about 2 months ago, but the doctor says I don't have to re-test because my last date of unprotected sex was roughly a year and half ago. I just want to say, my heart goes out to all who are HIV+ or living with AIDS. This is such a "mysterious" disease that doesn't affect people in the same way. I got tested because I work with at-risk youth, in which I teach them about pregnancy, STD's, birth control, etc. Well our office had a book on HIV, and my worst mistake was opening up that book! I wanted to see what interesting things I could teach the youth that afternoon about HIV/AIDS, but found myself questioning if I could indeed be positive. You know those "symptoms"? Symptoms that we have all experienced. In my opinion, I constantly had a sore throat (about once every other month), my glands seemed swollen, at times I had night sweats, diarrhea, and believe it or not, I had white spots on my tonsils (that's what the doctor told me when I went to have a check up for a mysterious skin rash I kept getting under my nose, breasts, face and arms). Last but not least, I had recurring yeast infections (3) that wouldn't clear up all the way. That's it I thought, I had self diagnosed myself, I was HIV+. I had all the symptoms right? Sore throat, swollen glands, diarrhea, yeast infections, white spots in my mouth, night sweats, skin rashes! I cried like a baby. I called my only true friend in the world, my mom. She encouraged me to get tested, and I set up the appointment. I explained to the doctor my concerns and ailments. I've had two sexual partners (unprotected), I have never had an STD (thank God), and never used any drugs, so I was what the considered a low risk. But believe me, any risk is too great to take once you have unprotected vaginal/anal/oral sex. I didn't do the blood test, I had the DNA swab type test. I was told I would have to wait 3 weeks for my test results. Lord, when I heard this I almost had to be hospitalized. I figured if I was + and the HIV didn't kill me the wait on the test resluts sure would. I cried so much while taking the test, I thought the swab used for the test would get to much of my saliva on it. Many things ran through my mind. I had two people that could have infected me, if I was indeed positive. I eliminated one, when I knew he had gone for testing and his was negative. That left me with one, and he had moved 700 something odd miles away to Texas. Come to think of it, I really didn't know too much about him, other than, I was young, dumb and "thought" I was in love. I didn't even have a # to contact him to call him up and say," hi, I know we haven't had sex in 2 yrs, but have you been tested for HIV"? Like his answer either way was going to change my test results already in the process. His last name is Washington and he lives in Texas. Common last name, one of the biggest states right? I called every last one of the 500 something odd Washington's in Texas (I didn't find him, and I won't mention that phone bill). I waited day in and out for those results. And you know what? The mind is funny, it has a way of playing tricks on you. While I was waiting, I developed some symptoms I thought were HIV/AIDS related. The first being severe diarrhea. It was really my nerves. I didn't eat, I couldn't eat! Then I ate non-stop. I called the nurse only 4 days after my test to cry to her on the phone some more. I needed someone to talk to. I was too embarrased to talk to friends to even let them know I may be +, and I did not want to continue to worry my mom. While waiting for the resluts, my life flashed before me, all the things I had accomplished (graduating from college, having a steady boyfriend for more than 5 years, etc.) All the things I would not accomplish if I was + (like having children, or getting married). This as life or death for me, I thought. This experience really humbled me as a person. I became one with God. I wanted to grow spiritually, so I got baptized while waiting on my results, and prayed tremendously. I even pray for someone to find a CURE, FAST! The nurse told me in more ways than one over the phone that my resluts were negative! NEGATIVE, YES, YES! But I was still touched. I felt sad for the people living with the disease, so I began to volunteer my time with HIV/AIDS patients. I thought about everyting in this world I would lose, by having 10 minutes of pleasure (and sometimes it wasn't pleasure). How stupid! LISTEN, one would be crazy to have UNPROTECTED sex in this day and age. Remember, if you meet a guy or girl who doesn't want you to wear protection, chances are he/she didn't wear protection with their last partner(s). I thought about the grief I would cause my parents, my little brother, my boyfriend, my friends, my grandmother! I still read up on HIV/AIDS, and I am learning so much! POZ is a great magazine with a lot of HIV/AIDS information. Please write me if you can relate! By the way, my skin rashes were eczema! And, if you see some of the pistures or actual people with full blown AIDS, if that's not enough to scare the hell out of you, nothing will!! And I just have to say one word about Kobe Bryant! I can't believe he had unprotected sex with a stranger, LORD knows he could have brought a disease like HIV home to his wife. They both (he and his wife) should be tested. Learn from Magic Johnson please!!! Please post my story on your web site.

 

Sent via Email - October 16, 2003, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

 
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