Would that force my family and me to pick up and leave?
I wondered if he told his family they might think I was “dirty.” Or think my parents were.
You see, the problem with dating guys my age is that instead of a date, our dinners often morph into an HIV/AIDS Q&A session once they learn my status.
The teacher-student situation doesn’t really leave room for romance.
I was not open with any of my peers, even my high school best friend who caught me crying a few times.
I saw the pain and blame my mother had for herself, and even though my father and I had a strained relationship for reasons beyond HIV, he never intended for things to go this way. If you Google my name, it’s not hard to find out I’m HIV-positive.
When we went out for lunch later that week, I shared that I wasn’t just a volunteer but was also HIV-positive. He had never met someone living with HIV (that he knew of), but I ended up playing the role of advocate instead of romantic interest.
He started asking questions about how I got it, about my most horrifying disclosure stories and any recent advances in medicine that might help me. I felt like I should give him a pop quiz afterward.
I’m been publicly open about my status since I was 21.
I disclosed on You Tube because I couldn’t fathom telling someone one-on-one at first—so instead, I told the whole world all at once.