One of my online friends has tested positive for HIV. I just met him on Tuesday for the first time. And I am the only one who knows of his HIV status. He was crying. I heard him out and let him cry. He had contracted the virus from someone when he just for once had tried to experiment with a bare back with one of his fling sexual relations. I wondered for quite some time why he had chosen to tell me of all people.. and asked him too. Guess there was some inner voice that told him that I will not judge or discriminate against him. I comforted him and told him that the virus is not as deadly as it used to be and that there are retroviral drugs that will build immunity. I suggested that he does the advanced PCR test that is the sure indicator of the virus. Though I did know of what he had told me and the tests that he had done and weight loss... etc that he could well be HIV positive. I dint want to sympathize with him or add to the tears and fears that already lurk him. I told him, "make the virus your friend" and it will live in you without troubling you, just as the many thousand microorganisms in your body." He was scared and thought there would be certain death that he will face soon, and worried about his mother and father who were dependent on him. I just replied lightening the mood "what a tragedy it would be if you wasted time dreaming about a death due to HIV and you die because of a car accident or swine flu"... he moved his eyelids emoting a mild laughter. I added "you will die when you have to die, you have no choice of death... but you do have a choice to live the life according to your terms... maybe you dint look at your life so closely, now this is just a chance for you to do what you haven't done, to see what you haven't seen" . He then mentioned that he was thinking of being a priest or a monk... I quickly told him, now that he has to be careful about sex, he needn't turn a monk. He smiled. He asked me about Sex, he clarified that he was bisexual and dreamt of a wife and kids some day... he again went into a low saying something that I guess he felt he had sinned. I smiled and replied "making love is no sin. Making love without condom is Sin. I told him with technology, sins get redefined. Like now... Plastic usage is a sin. But using plastic or latex condoms is not. Gods never had condoms then, else they wouldn't have called it a sin. I added with my usual funny bone.
He was jumping from one issue to the other, he asked me about having sex... will he never get to have sex. I told him. He could have sex still. Just he has to ensure that his partner is also HIV positive. He will then have nothing to worry about. He asked me about being a father, a thought that harbored in his mind for long. I advised him against it strongly. I shared with him information about what the virus does, what are the tests… The difference between HIV and AIDS. And how he should be careful about a few simple things.
He took another sip of the Cafe Coffee Day ka coffee and was lost in his thoughts, and after a few moments of silence... He asked "how do you know so much , are you also HIV positive ? " I told him I am people positive, and humanity positive, and every demon and human is my friend… be It HIV or you who has a big heart to co-exist with the mighty virus.. "I smiled, he smiled... and then i told him... that I have also tested myself for the virus, and have been in the same fear that he harbors. Just that I had never practiced unsafe sex with choice. I added that I tested HIV negative.
Anticipating he could add "how can you know how it feels when you have not been through exactly the same..." I asked "How do you feel when you need to pee very urgently, where do you feel pain... " he said "testis".. I replied "Kidney". I elucidated pain is relative, we feel at different places, we feel different emotions to the same thing. I can't feel for you, or like you, I can only think and perceive how you feel. I can't actually feel, how you feel. " "but" I added, i can definitely say, that you can be either a loser of your today, and live a life thinking of your past, and dreaming about a future or you could be a winner and win this moment that you are in.. Now. " I told him that he can live his life on his terms, just that he needs to be a little careful. He needs to live to the fullest; I said... and create moments worth dying for. He reflected in the glory of joy when hen I told him "Main Khud Ka Favorite Hu... kareena jaise" ... I tomtomed "Jyaada Naatak Math kar Saale, mere paas bhi hai, "sad story of past" share karne ke liye... but mera past toh past mein hai.. Present mein main bahut khush hu."
He laughed. And he paid the bill, while i acted as if i am looking for my wallet (ishhhh.... not serious). We moved out and he maintained a clear distance between us. I told him "Saale galle Mil… " looking at the big question mark in his face I said " Shabana Azmi ne kya kahaa bhool gaya kya? " - "Choone se yeh nahi failtha, is tarah sirf pyaar failtha hai. Hai Na? "
I bid him good bye, sat in the train, and took a deep breath. Huff! "It wasn't easy. Not easy at all" I said to myself… the next thing I did was called him up and sought his permission to share our tête-à-tête for I believe sharing is caring. He said yes, so here it is.
P.S. I am not a counsellor. He needs professional counselling. and for phukatt. If any one knows anyone. Please contact me at +91 9833100340 or firstname.lastname@example.org
P.P.S. i had given a wrong advice that "it is okay to have sex with an HIV positive person when you are also HIV positive. I almost have forgotten the molecular biology of my MSC class. There are different strains of HIV and one SHOULD ABSTAIN from sex. I was corrected by Baishakh Mishra and Seema Muralidhara. Thank you so much. :)