Today I want to write to those not living with HIV. I want you to know that we exist, that our diagnosis does not define us. We have the same dreams, the same desires, but for some reason our life became different. However, that does not mean that our lives are worse, nor harder. We simply must face different situations. Situations that if society were to be a little more informed, we would not have to go through.
There are things that neither doctors nor scientists can warn us about, not even tell us. There is a "B-side" of the diagnosis: fears, society, sex, everyday life.
It is very common that when we start sharing the conditions of our lives to family and Friends, their first reaction is to cry. This is a fairly unique situation because we, the ones who have the virus, are the ones in need of comfort upon disclosing our status. A hug, a loving look. But the opposite usually happens ... we must also face the duty to comfort the person we are telling, face judgment or worse, rejection. Of course, if we choose not to, we are not confronting these tough moments.
It is understandable that when we share with family and Friends, they break into tears, but today I ask you to turn it the other way around, if someone tells you they are living with HIV, let them cry on your shoulder, let them share their pain. It does not make us feel good that you cry, it is as if you’re mourning our life while we are still alive. Then, try to accompany them, to contain their pain. If you do not know enough about it, before rejecting them, inform yourself. Accompany them to the doctor, get rid of your doubts.
You have no idea of all the fears, questions, doubts that we face when we get the diagnosis. You have no idea how hard it is ... it's hard, very hard ... your world crumbles. I do not ask that you put yourself in our place, because you could not understand. But at least try not to make life harder for us. We do not need your questions, let alone your assumptions about how we acquired it. The talk of whether it was by promiscuity, homosexuality, if it was because you cheated or because they were unfaithful only feed the curiosity of a sick society. We do not need your judgment and moral lecture. Because you know what?? Nothing, absolutely nothing you can say or invent will backtrack the virus, and your unfortunate comments only make life more difficult for us.
If someone tells you that they are living with HIV, it no longer matters where, with whom or how they were infected... what matters is the now, how we are doing, your presence, it matters that you listen, learn... because many times those who speak of our condition, criticizing, judging, believe themselves to be immune. And let me tell you something... HIV, in most cases is caused by having unprotected sex... therefore do not consider yourself immune, it can happen to anyone.