Life, can be worse.
Being a 24 year old medical student was fine, but I was HIV positive. I was recently diagnosed of virus and it came as a shock to both me and my family. My parents told me not to worry about it and continue leading a life as normal as I could. And I tried.
I stopped going to college but the university let me write the exams and I got my bachelor degree. I couldn’t continue in the medical field after that. I had to quit.
Yes, my parents always supported me but I wanted to find someone whom I could love and feel and touch without them being scared. I wanted a companion, a lover.
So I decided the best partner I could find was someone who was HIV positive as well. I organized a talk, a seminar about how I was dealing with the difficulties and living with the deadly disease. But this lecture was open to only the HIV positive people, and I kept an age limit till 35. Both boys and girls were allowed.
I never had a problem with the boys, in fact I was very quick to realize that I liked boys as well, I like the boys more than the girls. Before HIV I didn’t show any of this to anyone, I controlled my feelings but now, after HIV, I was free. I could like whomever I wanted, be the real me. My parents never objected me or questioned me. That was one of the perks of HIV. And that’s when I also realized being gay, or bisexual, or any sexual preference which was seen as a taboo by the community wasn’t as bad as dying.
The seminar didn’t attract a lot of people; the hall was small but still empty. Only about ten came for the seminar and I was happy about it.
My intention was to find anyone in that room who would be with me. There was only one single female in the crowd. And she was kind of familiar, then I remembered, she was my college mate and we were good friends back in college.
She could have been a good choice but then she was a good friend and I didn’t want our relationship to spoil. And I wasn’t interested in girls anyway.
We had a friendly conversation and it was nice to meet her again. She told me that she contracted the virus after some accidental blood transfusion form an infected person.
The seminar went on and there was one more boy in the room who I was attracted to. He looked my age and was cute.
But Swati, my friend also asked me whether we could support each other and have a relationship. I sadly rejected her offer by saying that I was more interested in men than women. She understood my feeling and happily accepted my reason. I felt sad and hoped that she found someone.
I approached the boy and it turned out that he was gay too. I had got a companion; the seminar was a success.
After the seminar, I was standing at the door, waiting as people left the room.
Swati came to me before leaving, she wanted to say goodbye, maybe this was the last time we were going to see each other.
“You know……” she said as she shook my hands. My boyfriend was standing beside me, holding my arms.
“Your life isn’t as bad as you thing, you have your parents to support you and now you have found a companion. That is all you need. Love and companionship is all you need and you have it. Enjoy your life.”
“Yes, thank you. I hope you find someone too” I said.
After all of them left I saw the pile of sheets of the participants. I had asked them to get proof of their test reports, just to be sure. But I never checked them.
Out of curiosity I went through reports, just flicked the sheets. All HIV positive in the bottom of the paper, except I noticed something different in one of the papers.
This made me search thoroughly again. I went through each sheet and the second last sheet. It was there.
Swati was HIV Negative.
I remembered what she told me last before leaving. And it taught me a very important lesson in life.
Being HIV positive isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person. Not having a family is.