Do I think AIDS has ruined my life? Yes… And no.

16 Aug

I was just turning 18 when I found out I was HIV positive. I was an amateur boxing champion going to the world championships, and whilst I wasn’t predicted to win gold, I had a chance at finishing in the medals. During our medical screening I was the only one answering ‘yes’ to all the screening questions about HIV. HIV to me had always been a disease for prostitutes or drug users, not private school boys. I never thought I would ever be positive. A month passed and I received a call asking me to come in to see my coach and the British amateur boxing commissioner. I knew something was wrong immediately from their grave expressions, but what was to come I could never have guessed. They sat me down and announced that I had AIDS, I thought that it must have been a mistake, I couldn’t believe it. I went into shock. I didn’t say a word. My head spun, I saw my whole life pass in front of me! I thought, ‘I am going to die, it’s over!

The worst part was that I could no longer compete. A sport I had dedicated the last 8 years of my life to was no longer available to me. As you can imagine my life fell to pieces before my eyes. I’d always been an arrogant, cocky person and this confidence was swept away from under my feet. I felt ashamed and kept it a secret for a long time, I told people I’d got injured and was out for a while, but would ‘pick it back up when I’d recovered.’ The next three months passed in a blur, I felt like I was walking under water. I also started to drink and party a lot. I suppose I was trying to fill this big void that had opened up in my life, trying to drain the self loathing that was building up inside me. Drunkenly one night I told one of my then best friends. Needless to say one week later almost every person who knew me knew about it. It was the lowest point in my life. I became a recluse, on the few occasions I did brave it out, I’d see people looking at me, pointing and whispering.

Following a night where I once again considered suicide I decided to get out of my hometown and go to university. I needed to be away from the people I knew. At first university was hard, I’d find myself getting on really well with people and then it would come back and hit me. ‘I have ‘AIDS.’ It was horrible, I felt like a freak, like I’d never fit in. Suicidal thoughts crept up on me again, so after searching the internet about my condition I found a local AIDS support group. Going to this group was one of the most nerve wracking experiences of me life, but I’m so happy I plucked up the courage to walk through those doors. I can honestly say that without this group I don’t think I’d be here today. The people I met there showed me I didn’t need to be ashamed, that I could lead a pretty normal life. They answered the questions I wanted to hear without even being asked the questions, it was amazing. I also have the group to thank for introducing me to my girlfriend! I must admit that I had worried that ‘I would never have sex again,’ I mean sex was to blame for my troubles and who wants to have sex with someone with AIDS, right?

Now I’ve said that AIDS has ruined my life, but I also have said that it hasn’t. You may be wondering how it can’t of ruined my life, and the reason it hasn’t is because it changed me into a better person. Before I was diagnosed I wasn’t a particularly nice person, I was an arrogant fucker. Being this young sports star who had numerous girls at his beg and call made me like that, and I can’t imagine I would have changed. But after my diagnosis I saw the world differently, people weren’t judged on their popularity, they were judged on who they were. Girls weren’t things to put my penis into anymore, they were people I could get to know AND lastly and most importantly I wasn’t who I was, I was someone else. I was someone new. Someone better

“I have learned more about love, selflessness and human understanding in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cut-throat, competitive world in which I spent my life.”
Anthony Perkins

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One Response to “Do I think AIDS has ruined my life? Yes… And no.”

  1. ailin la rocca February 28, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    wow

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