A Girl’s Own Guide to Her Gay Hus­band & HIV

Hello Mr. Magazine - - GROW TO UNDERSTAND - Text by Nic Ho­las pho­tos by Adrian Tua­zon-McCheyne

Hey gu­u­u­u­u­url, so your Primo Gay Hus­band and Best Friend (I mean, you’ve got your “work” one, but he’s strictly 9-5) re­quested some face time. Cock­tail catch up is manda­tory in your joint cal­en­dar, but it seems like he’s got some­thing to tell you over a round of hip flir­ti­nis/belli­nis/ whiskey sours with el­der­flow­ers. So, you get to won­der­ing…it’s not boyfriend-re­lated. You know how he be­haves when he’s been dumped, or cheated on, or cheat­ing, or co-cheat­ing, or fret­ting about open­ing up his re­la­tion­ship. This seems heav­ier. Per­haps he’s calmer, which is scary since af­ter three flir­ti­nis he’s usu­ally louder than a Cher tweet.

Is it fam­ily-re­lated? You thought you knew all about his over­bear­ing mother; his lov­ing, but put-upon fa­ther; his dis­tant re­la­tion­ship with his brother who lives over­seas (whom you’ve only seen on Face­book and se­cretly think is hot).

Maybe it’s HIV. Im­pos­si­ble. This is 2013, AIDS is what young people in episodes of 90210 had (orig­i­nal se­ries, ob­vi­ously). Be­sides, he has safer sex than you do. And you’d know, you talk about that sort of stuff be­cause even though you’re cer­tain he won’t get it, there is still that fear of this “thing” that ex­ists in his world.

What­ever it is, he’s talk­ing around it, so you ask what’s wrong. He goes quiet, steel­ing him­self. Be­fore he man­ages to fin­ish say­ing, “Now, I don’t want you to worry, but,” you’re com­pletely wor­ried. In the mil­lisec­onds be­fore he ad­mits it, you’re sud­denly aware that your in­stinct was spot on. He stammers through ex­plain­ing how we went to the doc­tors re­cently and, it turns out that he just found out that… He’s HIV-pos­i­tive. So, what hap­pens next? You might well up a lit­tle, mainly for him and the brave face he’s putting on, squeeze his wrist and breathe hard through your nose for a few sec­onds. Or maybe you both break down in a flood of tears, ev­ery­one in the bar side-eye­ing the two of scream­ing to “you bitch God” that “it’s just not fair”…and that’s cool, too. You prob­a­bly don’t (and def­i­nitely shouldn’t) let a cloud of anger cross your face and de­mand to know “how you could have been so stupid?! Didn’t you know?! Can’t you re­mem­ber that scene in De­grassi when the AIDS bully gets blood all over the bath­room and freaks out?! Are you as stupid as the AIDS bully?! THERE’S NO ZIT REM­EDY FOR THIS!” Maybe a part of you thinks that, but trust me he’s al­ready thought that, too.

In all like­li­hood, most of you will go for op­tion num­ber one, with some kind touch­ing and wa­ter be­hind the eyes. It is re­ally fuck­ing sad, and scary, and by the look of him, he’s not in the best place. You will have a lot of ques­tions, so feel free to ask them. Hope­fully, if he gets sick of an­swer­ing them he’ll tell you, but watch out and be sen­si­tive. There’ll be a lot of in­for­ma­tion he’s pro­cess­ing,

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