About a month ago I got tested again on HIV. And as any person I agonize over the result. Even when you’re almost a 100% sure nothing is wrong, you still worry and feel the relief when you get the test result: negative.
It’s a personal worry of course of simply being healthy, taking care of yourself and of your partner. And it’s more, it goes to your most personal and intimate experiences – positive or negative. In a way it’s also a ‘professional’ worry, when you’ve worked on the issue on quite a few occasions. You know how it works, you know what it does.
I don’t like to think in scare tactics when it comes to HIV/AIDS, but I’ve met people who have to deal with it on a daily bases with the consequences of the disease on a personal level. It depends on where you are, but I can only say what I’ve seen: It’s tough, it’s often more than tough, at times it’s rough. Even when people are brave, speak up, speak out, are on treatment and/or do everything they can to help their own life and that of others, it won’t become easy any day soon.
The same week I got tested I wrote this poem. It was on my mind. It slipped in as a personal worry, but became a different emotion – one of anger, frustration, disbelief and my own helplessness. I met the woman in the poem in South Africa only once, but it made a big impression. She was at an advanced stage of the disease. It’s about my emotion, but I think that’s exactly the point on why it’s so tough. And why it is so important to care! Nobody can meet a person with HIV/AIDS without reflecting on themselves. What if it happens to me?
I looked her in the eye
Felt a mumbling embarrassing sigh
She didn’t retort my silent embrace
Her expression was shy
A baby in her lap
Refusing the tranquility of a nap
Her story started to unfold
A secret to be kept
Empty fell her hands
Losing a better chance
a future minus anything
tipping the UNWANTED balance
I gently looked her in the eyes again
Facing the cruelty imprinted by man
Sensing the closeness of fate
A mirror of the end, but when?