I didn't even really think about it this year, except for the fact that the husband wore his Gap BO(RED) shirt to work today.
Well, I guess that's not entirely true. I had fleeting moments when I was alone, and trying not to think about the cold that's quickly leaving my body and my wanting to sleep but couldn't, where I thought about how it's really affected me personally.
I thought about all the men I've had sex with since I lost my virginity at age 19. I know of only one or two that have become HIV+ and wonder how many of them get tested, or have tested but haven't disclosed. I think of the few close calls I've had, the brief irritation and relief that I had had syphilis in the past but had been able to fight it off, knowing that I wouldn't have been able to if I had gotten HIV.
I think about the times where I had the frame of mind to stop in the heat of the moment to grab a condom. I also think of the times where I didn't.
I think of all the wonderful friends who've had the balls to be out about their poz status, and who've taught me lessons in humility, love and friendship. I think about how I've become comfortable with talking about people with HIV. I think about how most of the time, their HIV status is there and not acknowledged.
I think of all the friends I've lost, the friends who've gotten sick, the people who I knew briefly who died, buried behind a cloak of shame.
I think that I've been lucky to remain HIV negative, and knowing that I will always have to be vigilant to stay that way.
And I remind myself that in my own way, that the fight against HIV, the fight against its social stigma, the fight that has killed my friends, my acquaintances, my tricks, is not yet over.
And that we all have to fight together.