I’ve had clients who told me that they practice safe sex. But then they say, “Well, I didn’t use a condom that one time.” As someone who grew up in the dawn of the AIDS epidemic, this always shocks me. How can you practice safe sex if you don’t do it every time? Just as I tell clients that it only takes one right person to make your online experience worthwhile, it only takes one person to alter the course of your life forever. Globally, there are so many factors to deal with in beating this awful disease but you can do something locally – as in inside your own home – to not only protect yourself but also to stop giving fuel to the fire of HIV.
I didn’t think much about HIV until the summer after my senior year of college. I had come to befriend a smart, lovely guy named Paul who had taken a job as a waiter after leaving a high profile executive career. For months, I could never understand why he would leave something with so much status and financial success just to wait tables. Finally, on my last day, he shared with me that he had HIV. I was shocked. He didn’t look like a person with HIV. He didn’t seem sick. But one lapse in judgment sent him on a journey from which he could never return. So what should a person with HIV look like anyhow?
For him the pressure of his career took away time from what was really important in life – being with his friends and family. We’re all facing death but when you are dealing with a ticking time bomb like AIDS, you are forced to evaluate your life and see where your time and effort should be spent. After that summer, I moved to LA and we lost touch, but his presence haunts me to this day. He was so clear and so courageous in a situation which would make most people retreat. Whenever I face adversity in life, I think of Paul and I am reminded not to sweat the small stuff and to cherish the precious gift of each new day. Please consider sharing your own stories about HIV/AIDS here, your words might inspire someone else the way Paul inspired me.