In my circle, suicides among long-term HIV survivors seem higher than average these days. Depression and long-term HIV go hand in bloody hand. Drug addiction, especially to meth and alcohol, are entrenched.
We went in for our test results together. It was May 1985. Still, after three years of reluctant monogamy enforced by the dread of a sex-borne plague stalking San Francisco, I feared for my lover of seven years. Christopher was younger and had been far wilder.
Instead of throwing a condom in a young gay black man's hand, first look at what his world looks like. What are his life circumstances? What societal barriers prevent him from getting the message on HIV? Does he feel that he has any worth?
Is the glass half-empty or half-full? I subscribe to the answer my colleague Sally Fisher formulated: "Both!" Life is both full and empty. When we are only in the empty part, we are suffering; when we are only in the full part, we are in denial.
When I tested positive in the spring of 2005, it felt like the end of the world. HIV was this boogieman that I had been taught to hate and fear since before I really understood how sex worked, and suddenly this monster was inside me.