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Property on Mars

Property on Mars


I have never known anyone who died of AIDS. Isn't that remarkable? I'm almost embarrassed to say it. With all my articles on the neopositive perspective, all my theater performances where I try to put a human face to HIV, and all my work with nonprofit organizations doing HIV prevention and outreach, I still have never faced that experience. I've never really seen what the virus can do. I've read all the books and watched all the films, but I have no personal stories of my own. No names of lost loved ones memorialized on the quilt, no noble heroes who taught me the meaning of true bravery, and no records of last moments so painful that I wish I could forget. I was born 10 years too late. I was infected a decade after the work had already been done and the fights had already been won. I am the generation of Magic Johnson, protease inhibitors, and 20-minute antibody tests. For me, dying of AIDS is only theoretical. I mean, I know that it can happen. But I've never seen it. I sometimes wonder if I'd lived through seeing my circle of friends die away and the streets filled with cancer-covered protestors, would I have been more careful? I wonder if my understanding of the disease had been more immediate, would I have taken the dangers more seriously? But then again, if I had been there in the beginning, I might not have survived to be here today. And I think today is pretty darn good: three pills a day; a testosterone shot a week; an on-again, off-again semirigorous gym routine; a doctor's visit every three months; and an HIV-positive partner who completely understands what I'm going through. That's not such a bad cross to bear. My life is full. My dreams are attainable, constantly manifesting into this thing we call reality, and my infection is manageable to a degree that, for the most part, it's not in the foreground of my daily thoughts. I'm more concerned with the clarity of my complexion and keeping my waist under a size 34. If those are the only tragedies of my life, imagine where we'll be in 10 years. I'll be 41 and legally married and have time-shares in New York and Italy and a piece of property on Mars. Flying cars will be the norm, and gas will be $150 a gallon. People will have learned that communication through mental telepathy is possible, and the existence of God has been unequivocally proved. I have written a play that is just beginning its run on Broadway'about a man who is able to magically breathe love into the lives of others but never able to bring it to fruition in his own. I've come to terms with my insecurities and, in turn, learned to accept others just as they are. My HIV is controlled by a pill I take once every three months, and there is no horrible consequence if you miss a dose. There is still not a cure'but shortly after 2010 researchers discovered a vaccine that works with a 99.9% success rate. And yes, people still worry about their complexions and their ever-expanding waistlines, but if you ask the average person on the street, most would say that they have never known anyone who actually had HIV and that the idea of someone dying of it is just absurd. Isn't that remarkable! Saucier is a writer, blogger, and performance artist based in Los Angeles.

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