Seems So Long Ago

I'm not sure which guy I fell in love with and had unprotected sex with some 22+ years ago. I was young, impressionable and seemingly invincible. My first boyfriend was a nice guy. We lived in the same suburb and met in a gay area of the city. He was cute, but had one problem - he couldn't keep his unit in his pants. I wanted a relationship like the one on TV. That was my first mistake. I didn't know he was seeing other guys until a friend told me he had seen him out at the bars with other guys. I was 19 and in love. We had unprotected sex, because I thought he was the one. He used to tell me about a time he became very sick and had to be hospitalized, but I never put two and two together. When you're young, you're naive. It was the early-mid 80's and no one could pinpoint where the disease was coming from let alone how we were getting it. After two years I said enough is enough and left him.

I didn't date seriously for several years. It was the spring of 1986, and I had started hanging out with a group of gay men who loved to party. It was fun. I had never been popular, so it was nice to be with a group. One night at a party, when I was 22, I met a really nice guy from Florida. His blue eyes and southern accent literally made me melt. He asked me home and the rest was history. Again I started to fall in love and to have unprotected sex. He said he was healthy and I believed him, but I found out later he had been hospitalized with AIDS like symptoms. I was plain stupid for not protecting myself. He went to Florida for a while, so we broke up. Later I heard he died.

It was the Christmas season when I found out I was HIV+. 1986 will always be a year of intense joy and many regrets. Christmas was in full swing. I was working full time and going to college full time, but I kept getting sick - nothing harsh - just sore throats and flu like symptoms. I went to the only clinic in my city of 2 million that offered HIV testing and had the test. Let me say Christmas still remains a depressing holiday for me.

I don't blame either of these guys, because when you're naive you can't use that as an excuse. It has been a hard time, because I am also Bipolar (this could have been one reason I was so trusting and sexually overactive) who knows. I still have trouble accepting this fact after 22 years. I wanted to live a normal life and have tried. I have a terrific partner, doctor and other support staff, so I consider myself lucky, but I can't seem to get my life in order.

I'm looking at getting a personal trainer and a new therapist, so maybe I will finally come to terms with all of this. It's hard and I am trying to go day-to-day. Anyway thanks for reading.

stoogechicago4327 stoogechicago4327
51-55, M
4 Responses Feb 13, 2009

Hello! I am a Medical Anthropologist and NP at Emory University, I would love for anyone and everyone to participate in a brief survey! the HIV/AIDS community of Atlanta and beyond will much appreciate your responses.<br />
Thanks! James<br />
<br />

A touching story indeed! in the 1980's?? I understand you coz during those years, this thing was not so popular but even in recent years when it became popular many people are still infected by it. Just continue to eat healthy and exersize a lot. You are a very strong man. I enjoyed reading your story. My the Lord heal you with the power of the Holy Ghost! take care

hey buddy, it is amazing that you have taken life so positively, i wish you all the best, make the most of everyday, do what gives u happiness and helps u connect to yourself.

What a powerful story.