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The Age of Ignorance

The Age of Ignorance


I'm tired of dating idiots, and it seems my dating pool is full of them. Beautiful 6-foot-2, blue-eyed idiots with perfect abs, flawless faces, and the most charming personalities around. I seem to find them everywhere; it's like there is something in the air. They ask for my number, give me theirs, or simply capture me with conversation. And before you know it, each one has me fooled, and I'm thinking that he could be the one. We have coffee dates that go perfectly and talk for hours on the phone. We share interests, histories, and kisses. And my heart begins to hope. But it's usually around the third date that I realize that the person I'm seeing is just another gorgeous idiot with a great career and the cutest little crooked smile--a complete idiot who's never heard of something called HIV. I chose my virus. I picked it from a bevy of beautiful bodies, and I never questioned the circumstance of my contagion. I knew what it was and how to get it, yet I got it anyway. I hated condoms, craved dirty needles, and loved men with no names. So I was not surprised on a certain day when my test results read POSITIVE. I was not a 10-year-old virgin who had contracted HIV from a botched blood transfusion. I didn't get it from a cheating spouse or from being gang-raped in a jail. If there is blame, it goes on me, because ignorance doesn't count. We've had 25 years with this disease--more than two decades of AIDS, of education and outreach, of red ribbons and star-studded galas, of ACT UP and 'Fight AIDS,' of hundreds upon hundreds of deaths. How the hell do you not know that people like me exist! It's the age of Google, for God's sake! But still, I sit in awe as their eyes glaze over, their breathing changes, and they see it for the first time. A person with AIDS is standing before them, and their mind can't quite register it. Did they really think that we weren't out there, sitting next to them on the bus or lying gently beside them in bed? Of course, there are some smart ones. I've even loved one or two. But still, every time I'm about to disclose, I wonder if I'm dining with an idiot. If I'll have to go into my mommy voice and let them know it's safe to touch me and that the virus isn't airborne. If I'll have to put on my educator hat and teach the five fluids of transmission--Come on, little boys and girls, repeat after me: blood, semen, precome, vaginal secretions, and breast milk--as my eyes roll back in my head. _Now, I know I have a responsibility to save the world, even if it's one person at a time. I know that God loves good deeds that require patience and fortitude, and I'm sure that after surviving for seven years it's the least that I can do. But, you know, it wouldn't kill these people to open a book once in a while. Maybe turn on the TV, glance at a magazine, or--God forbid!--go online and try to learn something on their own so that the next time a person has the grace to share his or her status with them, they could have the wherewithal not to be a total idiot. Saucier is a writer, blogger, and performance artist based in Los Angeles. Find his blog at

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