I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Me & Him

Some people have been asking me, “So, what ever ended up happening to him?”

Well, once I returned to the United States, we kept in touch through Facebook and an occasional text message. For a few weeks, I continued pushing and encouraging and practically begging him to go get tested. He continued to say that he was “too afraid”, and he continued to ask how I was doing and claim that he missed me. Finally, one day I received a Facebook message saying, “I write to tell you that I did the test, and am doing further tests to determine the best possible medication, am sad to say you were right.”

After that, he got pretty quiet, and just a few days later announced that he was now “in a relationship” with another girl. I questioned whether he had told her about his HIV status, and he got very defensive and avoided the question, which leads me to believe that the answer is “No”. This upset me very much- not that he was with someone else- but that he was with someone else and possibly not telling her about the HIV! I stressed about it for a day or two, but finally decided that there was nothing I could do. It was not my place to go and tell her. And after doing some research, I found that it wouldn’t matter if I were to go to any kind of authorities, as there are no HIV Criminalization Laws in Zambia (in other words: you are not required by law to disclose your status to sexual partners). I finally realized that I needed to remove myself from the situation. I needed to let him go. I needed to move on.

From that time, I didn’t talk with him for more than a month. Then one day, after I felt cooled down from it all, I casually commented on something on his Facebook status. He responded cheerfully and asked how I was doing. When I went to write back, it wouldn’t let me. He had blocked me. I’ve never found out why. And we’ve never talked since…

10 comments:

  1. Wow, I guess he is worried that you will share his status, but his reaction is immature and disappointing and leads me to thoroughly dislike him. It makes me doubt that he has shared his status with his partner. I guess we know why HIV spreads.

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  2. Should we also consider what the consequences are if he outs himself? I don't think he is being immature. He is obviously scared and not thinking like a westerner. The support services that exist in Zambia are far less than what exists in the US. I THINK WE SHOULD THINK ABOUT WHAT HE'S THINKING AND FEELING ALSO.

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    1. Doubt it. That guy sounds like a creep. He probably knew he was infected even before he slept with this gal. There's a reason why that country is so ****ed up. Stupid ****ing niggers.

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    2. That is an extremely ignorant response.

      If you were in that persons shoes, had the cells they have, the experiences and life that they have, you would do the same exact thing.

      And maybe if i was in your shoes i would say the same racist awful thing. But i really hope i wouldn't.

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  3. Dear Cabbie,
    I neither support nor fight against his individual decisions and actions. He is in his own place and doing all that he has the strength to do at this time. However, I want to point out that stigma is everywhere... in Zambia, in the U.S., and everywhere in the world!
    Furthermore, I do not feel it is right to compare the situations in these different places, especially if we do not live there. I can tell you that in my village and area in Zambia, I was amazed at the overall acceptance and "normality" surrounding HIV. So much so that, I actually told my mom at one point, "Well, if people won't accept me in the U.S., I'll just go back and live in Africa again, because I know I could find acceptance there".
    I think that "outing" ones self is a personal decision and depends on a variety of factors, and can be extremely difficult NO MATTER WHERE A PERSON LIVES.

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  4. I wanted to add, being an RPCV from Gabon myself, that there is a HUGE stigma about HIV/ AIDS in Africa. When I was there from '95-'97 (and I'm sure it's probably still like this), doctors were afraid to tell people they were HIV+ because they would often be blamed (for "ruining" the person's life because being HIV+ often meant you were ostracized by your family), so they often lied and told HIV+ people that they were negative. It's a big problem, and a scary problem. I just wanted to add that for extra information and perspective.
    I am in no way condoning his behavior.

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  5. I guess that he no longer responds because he is lying to his new partner and is scared that you might reveal his status!!!
    This is nothing new in Zambia and is a huge problem with people not being open and honest.

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  6. This guy is obviously a scum bag. He will continue to lie and infect others. I have no sympathy for him and hold him in disdain.. it is naive to believe otherwise.

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  7. jessica, am a zambian man myself, lost a friend who killed himself after finding out that he was HIV+ (left a death note). This came after he had an affair with a white girl from norway. The story was that the lady was HIV+ and she knew it.. we confronted the lady after the death of our friend, she admitted to it, but also told us that our friend was told and did not mind.. stranger...
    Anyway you can take that guy to the court of law in zambia if you want and help stop the spread of HIV. Read today 22/01/2013 online publications lusaka times and zambian watchdog.. a government minister is being sued for infecting someone, so you can help other women who do not know about this guy

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  8. I think you're being very selfish in not only not posting his face on your blog, but in not informing Peace Corps of this guy. 99% of African guys are not going to tell anyone they have HIV and he will sure not tell the next white girl who comes along about his HIV status. Yes, the rumors are true - black guys like white girls like the rest of the world. You're attractive and he scored with you but there will be many unattractive young volunteers who will feel like they've scored if they have sex with him. Are you willing to put all their lives at risk?

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