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Stigma

Almost everyone has heard about HIV, but in my country we hardly ever
actually know someone who has this disease, until they die!

Stigma, and fear, to name a few, keep most of us from getting tested.In May 2005, I was on vacation at a beach resort when my mom called to say that a very close friend of ours, was at the hospital. For almost 1 year, I would hardly see Greg. I had gotten so accustomed to seeing him, at least 4 times per week, that it was odd. He would have lunch at my house, as he worked close by. He would spend his weekend daysat my home, sometimes, have a bath, change and go to his weekend job, as a musician. He was like family. No holiday, christmas, easter etc. would go by without him around. Family gtherings, birthdays, he was always there. I made his drapery, went with him to buy his furniture, made his stage costumes, even ironed his clothes sometimes, as he was a bachelor.During the year that I hardly saw him, I constantly asked for him, and I was always told, he was ill. I got home from my vacation the next day, and called his girlfried.

She was quite together when she told me that the hospital was testing for TB.Then, I got to thinking. The little I knew about HIV,

Greg's illnesses, for almost a year, now TB. I went to the hospital and I almost fainted when I saw him! His girlfriend was so unaware! It seem that he had full blown Aids! Everyone was hurt and shocked.

All his friends were supportive but very suspicious of Sherri, his girlfriend. Poor soul! She stood by his side, day and night. It was the first time I knew how destructive this disease was. I spent the next two weeks, which was the last two weeks of his life, in the hospital. He was so thin, he could not walk, he wore disposable diapers and coughed, a terrible, hacking cough. I was scared! I am not sure the doctors told him what he had, because he kept asking us, what was wrong. I remember a night, at about 1am. he asked to go home. The next day he died. That was the last time, to date, I had sex! Since then I have seen at least 5 or more, young, bright people commit suicide, when they test positive. You people in the US, aren't aware of how fortunate you are. In my country, sometimes I feel there is no hope. People are afraid of even the word HIV. I've never heard of support groups, HIV specialists etc. Sometimes I wonder if there was anything we could have done to save Greg's life, had we known. As for Sherri, well, she just disappeared. No one have seen, or heard from her since.

 

Sent via Email June 26, 2009 from Trinidad.

 

 
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