Sunday, November 06, 2005

I had a very disturbing, if cliché'd dream on Thursday night. I dreamt that I was in a small doctor's office and the doctor was informing that I had contracted HIV, but not because I had had unprotected sex or shared needles, rather because there was a new strain that was air-born. I feel this was my psyche's inability to actually take responsability for my own actions. Clearly, were I to ever contract such a thing, it wouldn't really be my fault. I handled it slightly better than I imagine most people would, although less well then I've assumed I would. (When you're a member of community with a history such as - and I use this pronoun only in the strictest sense - ours, the thought must inevitably cross one's mind. It's like First Nations and diabetes or Mennonites and the jitterbug. I've long forgotten the rest of the dream, but it was remarkably unsettling not solely because of the news itself but that I couldn't control how I would react. The feelings of despair and helplessness were overwhelming, and I didn't get to 'do it my' way as I've discussed before (the living wake, etc.). There was also a lot of shame. The history of the disease is riddled with shame because it was originally considered a gay man's disease at a time when that was dramatically less accepted and that feeling still holds true today, even with greater rights being passed around. It's also a disease of ignorance, as it is prevented with education and awareness. It's not equal opportunity, like cancer. Hell, we're all gonna have cancer in this generation. HIV is just so simply preventable: use a condom, don't share needles (or really, do heroine at all, cause, c'mon...), know your partner's sexual history. It's all so basic. Essentially, if I was some John Deer from middle America, I would view HIV and AIDS as the disease of the stupid gay man. Actually, perhaps not even the Middle American. We don't really express it due to political correctness, but even those of us who consider ourselves to be more educated still have those stereotypes of the slutty fag and the junkie prostitute as the poster children. Yes, there are marches and elegant fundraiser like for cancer, Parkinson's and all the rest, but HIV doesn't have the dignity of those illnesses because, for the most part, it's your own fault. That's an asshole statement, I know it, but that doesn't make it less true. I wouldn't be embarassed to tell the people I love that I had any other fatal illness, but I imagine that having to admit to this would feel like entering a guilty plea and that there would be punishment to follow, not in something so hollow as death, but rather that judgement, as innocent as it may be, decrying, "You did this to yourself."

I'm having trouble ending my entries lately, so there. That's it.

1 comment:

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