My roommate and I had a conversation after watching the film shared below, Angels in the Dust. There is a part of the film where the orphanage owner gets quite angry and upset about a man named Thabo, who has transmitted HIV to numerous women in the village. He continues to move from one woman to the next, and they are starting to notice this trail of women dying, after they have been with Thabo. The orphanage owner gets quite upset about this and calls Thabo a "Serial Killer".
Anyways, my roommate brought this up to me and said that during this part of the film, he couldn't help thinking about my situation, and wondering if my guy in Zambia "knowingly" passed the virus to me, and how does that make me feel?
The only response that I can give is: I have to admit that there are times when I think about this, and I have to admit the possibility that he knew he had it, and that he lied to me. But, the majority of the time, and the majority of me, still feels and believes that he did not know or do it intentionally. There is only a small percentage of me that feels that maybe he did know. However, at this point in time, I feel that I will never know the true answer to this question. Furthermore, I don't feel that it is productive to dwell on this part of my story. I'll never know. We don't communicate anymore. And if I did know, what difference would it make? Either way, it happened. I still have HIV. My focus now is to accept that and move on with my healing process.
I did explain to my roommate though, that this part of the film did affect me, and not specifically because of my story and situation. It affected me because I lived in Africa, and I witnessed this exact kind of thing happen. I actually met men who had had three successive wives die, and now were on to a fourth wife. Men who the whole village "knew" were sick, but never talked about it. They never said HIV there. They just said, "Oh yes, when that man has a woman, she then gets sick and dies". Just like that, just a fact of life.
I don't know if I would go as far as the orphanage owner to call these men "serial killers". Yes, it makes me angry and sad to know that this happens. It makes me angry that the women, the villages, and the men themselves don't do anything to prevent or stop it. But, I also know that, as an outsider to their culture, their situations, and their relationships, I have no right to judge them and their actions. There is so much more that can add to the complexity of these situations, that we cannot just assume that we understand or can do something to change it.
Please stay tuned for more related to this topic and "HIV Criminalization"...
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.