I have always wanted to talk about this but I have been a bit reluctant. This is probably an issue that people with HIV do not dare discuss for fear of insensitivity but whether we like it or not it is a part of our lives.
One time in 2010 I came down with a yeast infection so I went to see my gynaecologist. He has been my family doctor since I was a teenager but I hadnt seen him in a while. So I gave him an update on my health history including the fact that I just had a child. As a result he asked a question to the effect of whether I was sexually active or if I was on contraceptives or something like that. I answered somewhat mischieviously that I was celibate. He then said ‘yes, but do your hormones know that?’
I dont know how other people living with this disease manage or deal with it, but for me, ever since I was diagnosed HIV +, I mentally put a fullstop to dating, relationships and men. And that is saying a great deal because for a long while I – to put it immodestly- enjoyed possessing looks that commanded attention.Even when I was heavily pregnant I received compliments on my looks. However, my very present problems made it easy for me to a. Become unattractive and b. Ignore the opposite sex; and then I perfected the ‘art’. I shorn my hair so I was bald, I barely wore makeup except for clear lipgloss, I never bought any new clothes for 2 years ( not that I could afford it anyway)and I dressed up in worn,oversize clothes; I overate and put on weight, I looked away when I saw an attractive guy. But still the hormones didnt get the memo.
Personally I think it is pushing your luck to pray to be healthy when you are HIV+, and to find love as well. The life I know doesnt allow things fall into place like that. But be that as it may, everyone wants someone. It has never really been my desire to be married but now that I am alone, living in the office while I try to find a place, and generally struggling to rebuild my life, I feel lonely.I cannot hide behind my daughter anymore. I am now seen as an individual and this person is alien even to me. I look in the mirror and I have aged and changed and I do not know that me. And I do not like that me. Suddenly I want to change my wardrobe, suddenly my face looks too rough, suddenly I want that guy walking by to give me a second glance. Do not get me wrong, I have no intention of sleepong with anyone. Not now, not later. But I guess I am surprised to find myself feeling this way and I guess a part of me wonders if I will die feeling this way.
I reckon I died, subconsciously,when it really hit me that I had this illness. My daughter, my family, were my life support. And now that I have been revived I have to learn to live again: on my own, as an individual and with the useless appendage of hormones craving for physical companionship.
Dont judge me.