Apparently, your twenties is the time to make a shitload of mistakes one of which is sleeping with all the wrong people.
If you come of age sexually, smack dab in the middle of a killer virus that scares people and has them dropping like flies with no real explanation as to why, it can get very interesting.
Partnering and dealing with men since the age of seventeen, I have made some gloriously stupid mistakes and done them with much flare, a splash of self deprecating humor and looking fantabulous at the same time.
A close friend once remarked that even when marching through the bowels of hell wearing kerosene draws and having my heart torn asunder, I always looked good. Part of much of the upset of my 20's was dealing with not only HIV/AIDS but also trying to date/love be sexual amidst the dark shadow that this epidemic cast.
By refusing to date and have sexual intercourse with those that were/are infected, I thought this was the way to stay healthy and defeat this most ingenious and nasty of epidemics.
This becomes extremely difficult when the loneliness and anger monster appears and you find yourself having multiple partners knowing that not one but all of these sons of bitches could be lying to you.
Limiting the type of sex you will allow eliminates the need to discuss HIV status.
Amidst all of the shenanigans, I did manage to find some serious, hardcore man love.
At thirty one, it was clear to me that I had finally defeated HIV and was never going to have to deal with this dastardly rascal ever again.
Then we broke up.
After eight years, I would have to consider any and all sexual dealings via the lens of: I could become infected and what does this mean. I was 23 all over again only this time a bit more jaded and a helluva lot wiser.
With 30 % of black makes over 40 being infected, it became clear to me that I would have to look at the discrimination that I had towards those that were infected. I have great men in my life who are infected and it was very obvious to me that I couldn't eliminate an entire section of my community for something so trivial.
Being the warrior that I am I took on the challenge of dating and getting close with men who carried the virus.
I didn't end dates or flirtations when a guy mentioned that his status was positive.
To love fully regardless of one's status is most revolutionary.
To not allow one decision to overshadow and determine our life choices is damn near brilliant.
How do you defeat this foe ? What are your tools and ways of thinking that disallow HIV/AIDS to determine who gets your love and commitment ?