AIDS 101 – Billy’s Story – A Surfer Living With AIDS / HIV


How am I gonna dwell my life if I’m constructive? Is it gonna be a detrimental?

Like many others his age, Billy grew up with little information about AIDS. For years the media stored pointing to specific teams – primarily homosexuals and drug addicts- as the one folks affected by the illness. But as an increasing number of is realized, AIDS circumstances in heterosexual teenagers and younger adults have jumped to nice proportions.

“Had I known what I know now about the disease, say, five or ten years ago, all my choices about relationships and sex would have changed. Back then, and even today, it’s a male thing to sleep with as many girls as possible – kind of like bragging rights. To look back on it now – trying to be cool will actually kill me.”

Billy, a blond, 23-year-old native Californian, suits the everyday surfer/boarder stereotype, besides one factor distinguishes Billy from others – he is HIV constructive. He is among the rising numbers of teenagers and younger adults who’ve been caught off-guard by this once-unknown illness. It is estimated that between the ages of 13 to 24 years previous, one in each 300 is contaminated with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), the virus that results in AIDS.

I take into consideration life and immorality what’s the very first thing I do if I’m HIV

At a neighborhood espresso home, Billy and I speak about what he is gone by means of. Sipping on a mocha, he remembers the fateful day he came upon about his circumstances.

“I remember all the details – going in to get a normal physical at the hospital and having blood taken from me. Everything seemed okay, and even the doctor mentioned I appeared in good health. About two weeks later, ten days away from my birthday, a nurse calls from the hospital to ask that I come back in – no explanation, nothing.”

They took my blood with an nameless quantity two weeks waitin wonderin

Billy thought he was stricken with most cancers, like a number of members of his household earlier than him. “I was so scared to go see the doctor,” he says. “I told no one – not even my parents or girlfriend. The thought of them having to worry about me frightened the shit out of me.” Billy pauses to replicate, then continues, “Something about the office and the doctor looming over me felt like I was at the gates of heaven waiting to meet my fate.” Then, BAM – like hitting a brick wall – the physician informed Billy his blood take a look at got here again HIV constructive.

I shoulda accomplished this a very long time in the past numerous excuses why I could not go I do know these items and these items I have to know, trigger it is higher to know than to not know!

“AIDS?” Billy responded. “Isn’t that some kind of homosexual or drug-pusher thing?” As he toys along with his mocha, Billy remembers considering, “There’s no f-king way I could get something like that. Must have been some big mix-up. Then I thought, Oh shit, I must’ve used the same toilet seat or touched a door knob that some infected person used. But the doctor went on to say there was no way of getting HIV from that, and then asked if I’d ever had unprotected sex – without a condom.” Billy had engaged in unprotected intercourse.

“Yeah, a couple of times,” he says, “cause they’re uncomfortable or I didn’t have one in the heat of the moment. I figured if the girl was on the pill, who needed to wear a condom?

Was it really all that magic? the times I didn’ t use a prophylactic

“(I) consider it was a woman I dated again in faculty about 4 or 5 years in the past, “Billy thinks back. According to the Center for Disease Control, AIDS cases in females have increased from seventeen percent to 39 percent in the past four years. AIDS has risen to become the United States sixth leading cause of death among fifteen to 24 year olds.

I’m readin’ about how it’s transmitted some behavior I must admit it. who I slept with, who they slept with who they, who they, who they slept with.

Since learning about his diagnosis, one of toughest things Billy’s had to deal with is telling past girlfriends he had sex with about the virus. “As I sat down making a listing of who I slept with,” Billy says, “it began to scare me what number of there have been.” Billy doesn’t say this to be perceived as a so-called “stud,” but as part of understanding his high-risk behavior and its role in his contracting HIV.

“As I began calling them one after the other,” Billy recalls, “I used to be confronted with explaining what had occurred and telling every of them they need to get examined. “Billy realizes he didn’t have to do this, but would’ve felt guilty not doing so. He goes on to say that some of the girls were mad because they felt Billy had “killed” them, as one girl put it. Others were sympathetic and asked how they could help.

Get on the phone and call my past lovers I never thought about infectin “anotha all of the instances that I mentioned “Hmmm? Don’t bother.

Each day, like the other estimated one-million Americans who are HIV-positive, Billy lives life to its fullest. “At instances I’ll get actual depressed,” he admits, “however I make it by means of and attempt to take pleasure in a number of the easier pleasures.” Billy sees life a little differently than probably you and I, and while he talks about different experiences he encounters each day, or about his dreams of surfing in Tavarua that he hopes to fulfill, Billy knows that now, unlike before, he must be wary of what his body will have in store in the future.

Would my whole life have to change? or would my life remain the same? sometimes it makes me want to shout! all these things too hard to think about.

His coffee cold, Billy brings up his growing frustration about what has been happening around him. He’s afraid to tell friends because of their lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS. “I do know as soon as I inform them,” Billy says, “I ll turn out to be an on the spot leper – an outcast.” He claims it’s not his friends faults, but society’s failure to educate his peers about AIDS.

“Young adults have to see another, not be preached to, however educated about prevention,” Billy explains. “Too many teams are preventing over whether or not to show secure intercourse, abstinence, or give out condoms within the public faculties – they do not notice as they’re squabbling extra of us are dying as a result of we re ignorant to the information.”

How am I gonna live my life if I’m positive? is it gonna be a negative?

As afternoon comes to a close, Billy rushes to get a quick surf session before dark. I look toward the water: Billy is charging in full force down the line. A few hours later, he comes paddling back, bragging about every cutback he made and asking if we all saw it. At times he amazes me with his energy and love for life, but now I understand how he perceives things. The disease that has taken so many has in no way slowed down Billy and his dreams. Billy may be different from others because of it. He’s still my friend.

a day to laugh, a day to cry a day to live and a day to die ’til I find out, I may wonder but I’m not gonna live my life six feet under.

*lyrics written by Michael Franti, Charlie Hunter, performed by Spearhead, “Positive” seems on Spearhead’s Home CD and Red, Hot and Cool CD.

Source by Mark Sperling

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