Over the past few months I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting. This isn’t a new concept for any 34 years old single mother of three a year after a crazy break-up. It’s no wonder I’m not crying at every moment of everyday looming over possibilities gone past; chances left for not and bad decisions to reconcile. With all that being said I’ve actually come to realize how truly blessed I am. Especially when I think about how certain situations could  have gone drastically differently. This has all come to light even more when I think about December 1st being World AIDS Day.

While yes my choice to have unprotected sex has led to the life of three amazing people, I am not blind to the fact that I could have just as easily contracted HIV. I am also not gloating that I have gone through life without any STD. Honestly I thought about omitting this tidbit all together but in doing research and through conversations with friends, I know that I’m not an oddity. I can say with utmost confidence that I know more people who have had unprotected sex at some point in their life, than people who have had protected sex every time they have had intercourse. This is also a terrifying thing to realize knowing that my eldest will be 14 soon and even closer to being sexually active than I’d like to admit. So with that being said I wonder what I can say to my children to make them want to think before they have sex?

As a child growing up in my mother’s world I was never sheltered from the truth about sex or the consequences from it. With my mother being a hairstylist in the 80s and 90s there was no escaping the reality of HIV. Add to that growing up in Indiana where Ryan White put a young non-sexualized face to epidemic that the media had up to then portrayed as a strictly homosexual disease. Hell I was the target market for the movie “Kids” and watched it dozens of times reelling at the idea that all it really takes is one time.

All it really takes is one time… that’s such a heavy statement. Especially when you think of how many times it could have. It’s hard to not think about those that learn they are positive and how I know how badly they want to take that one back. To them my heart goes out the most. Not because of the idea of getting a death sentence, which modern medicine has made that a thought of the past. But because of the stigma and the figuring out who you are as a person with HIV or Aids and not just an infected person.

I really wish I could have something insightful that would make every person use protection when they have sex. I wish I could tell every person out there that if they aren’t comfortable asking someone their status than you shouldn’t be comfortable sharing your body with them. I wish I could tell everyone that is struggling with finding out they are positive that they don’t have to go through it alone. But alas I know I have no idea what finding out you’re positive is like. I know about lonely nights. I know about believing you are invincible and nothing can happen to you. I know about getting so caught up in a moment that nothing but that moment matters… I know that life is about making choices and dealing with them as you choose. So here’s to life and knowing is truly a blessed thing!

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