Home > Emotional Impact of HIV, Friends and Family, Gay Dating, How I Became Infected, Living With HIV, My Life Before Infection > March 4, 2012: Awkward call from the guy that infected me…

March 4, 2012: Awkward call from the guy that infected me…

Quite Positive - This is my life after the test came back.

I didn’t mention this in my last post because it’s truly a standalone story. Last week brought another interesting, dramatic occurrence for me… a phone call from the guy that infected me.

I’ll try to keep it brief, as it seems that I’ve been on a writing warpath today.

I haven’t really said much about Andy — the guy that infected me with HIV — aside from brief mentions in other posts. If you remember me talking about him, please bear with me while I recap for everyone else.

Background

Truth is, there isn’t a lot to say. We didn’t have a serious relationship.

After a disappointing ‘weekend date’ in October 2011, I found myself feeling alone and frustrated. I needed someone by my side, and I did something that I hadn’t done in a long time… I logged onto Adam4Adam.com to look for a hookup.

Andy was a nice guy. He could keep a conversation going and seemed relatively harmless. His profile photos were cute, we appeared to be 100% sexually compatible, and — most importantly — he was local.

We texted for a bit before meeting up for the first time. It was a Sunday evening.

Long story short, he wasn’t my type. He was slightly too effiminate for me, and had (in my personal opinion) misrepresented his appearance online. We seemed to be from two different cultures and socioeconomic classes. A relationship between Andy and me just wasn’t going to happen.

But you know what? The sex was amazing.

And all letdowns aside, he turned out to be a nice guy with a big heart. Boyfriend? No way! Friend with benefits? Maybe… why not!?!

We met up a few times over the course of the next three months. Andy and I would have sex, hang out, chat and laugh. It was nothing serious. Just good fun between two lonely gay guys.

About the time I started getting sick, however, Andy and I lost touch. And when I started dating Tom, I had no reason to contact him further.

However, as previously mentioned in other entries, when my physicians informed me that I had likely contracted HIV in October or November of 2011, I determined that it could have only come from one source — Andy. I had only slept with Andy and Tom from October 2011 until my diagnosis, and I was already sick when Tom and I started dating. The math was simple.

What I have not mentioned so far is that I texted Andy when I figured out where my HIV came from. It was a simple text explaining what was going on: I told him that I had a strong suspicion that he was HIV-positive, and informed him that he needed to be tested ASAP. I never heard back from him.

… until late last week.

The Phone Call

At the time that I had originally sent Andy the text telling him I suspected he was positive, I didn’t know how I felt about him. Part of me wanted to be angry, and part of me was sympathetic and understanding to his situation. He had slept with me completely unaware of his condition, just as I had done with Tom.

But in general, I was too involved with my own diagnosis to care. I wasn’t shocked that he had never replied to the text… I mean, Hell, how do you reply to something like that, anyway?

I had all but forgotten about him.

On Thursday of last week, I was sitting at my desk at work completing some mundane task when my cell phone began to ring. I snatched it up from the other side of my desk and looked at the screen. My heart began to race and my hands began to tremble.

It was Andy.

I stared blankly at the screen of my thin, black smartphone for a few moments… trying to decide whether or not I should answer. Right as the call was about to go to voicemail, I stood from my desk and answered, and began walking toward the back door of my office so that I could talk to Andy in private.

This was not a phone call I wanted to take in front of my coworkers.

“Hello?” I quizzed nervously.

He spoke softly, with a tone of uncertainty and nervousness equaling my own.

“Hey,” he said. “What’s up?”

We engaged in a few short, phoney pleasantries before he got to the meat of the conversation and explained his motivation for calling.

“I just wanted to say thank you for sending me that message,” he began. “A lot of people wouldn’t have done that.”

I didn’t know what to say. A few moments of awkward silence passed before I was able to cut through the intense emotional fog that was beginning to engulf me. I replied with faned positivity and normalcy.

“Of course,” I said. “I felt that you needed to know. It’s something that you hope you never have to say… I’m sorry.”

The air between us grew even tenser. At least a half minute of heavy breathing passed. I didn’t know what to say.

Finally, I mumbled a simple, inquisitive one-word reply.

“Well?”

He immediately picked up on the volumes of underlying meaning.

“I was just tested. I’m positive.”

Silence fell between us once again, but he continued before I had the opportunity to respond. He was nearly in tears, and spouted off a long, disjointed thought that had clearly been building up throughout the course of our awkward conversation.

“Thank you so much. Thank you for telling me. I’m… I’m so sorry. Thank you. I never meant for anything like this to happen. I didn’t know.”

“I know you didn’t,” I replied. “I was almost 100% certain that you would be positive, but of course I was hoping for your sake that you weren’t. I don’t blame you. I don’t blame anyone. It’s just a disease.”

“Yeah,” he replied, seemingly deep in thought.

“Have you seen a HIV doctor?” I asked.

“I have an appointment next week,” he informed me.

“Well good luck,” I responded with the same faned positivity as before. “I just started my medications myself. If you ever feel down, or need someone to talk to, or have questions, feel free to call me. I’ll be here for you.”

The conversation ended soon after.

My Reaction

To be honest, I was proud of how I handled this phone call. It was the first time in weeks that I felt like I was in control of my emotions and at ease with my new reality.

I could have handled things much differently. I could have allowed all the regret, disgust, animosity, and hatred I had felt in previous weeks flow at him in an uncontrolled, blaming rant. I could have called him every name in the book but his birth name. I could have been a child about it… but I wasn’t.

As thankful as he was that I had texted him, I was equally thankful that he had called me. Knowing definitively where my HIV had came from gave me closure of sorts.

I felt relieved.

It’s impossible to describe to an uninfected person how much you worry, and how guilty you feel, when you’re diagnosed with HIV.

You worry about the people that you have slept with, and you convince yourself that you’ve infected all of them. You feel guilty about the lives you’ve possibly ruined.

Knowing that Andy had been the source of my HIV infection had taken a great weight off of my heart. No longer did I have to worry about the men I had been with prior to October 2011.

I’m still awaiting word on the result of Tom’s test. Every time I find myself thinking about it, I pray to God that he give Tom a break. I pray that Tom is the miracle of this situation, and comes up negative.

But whether or not Tom comes up negative or positive, I am at least relieved to know that he was the only person exposed to the virus by me personally.

Andy’s phone call gave me a sense of peace that I hadn’t felt since being diagnosed nearly a month prior.

Quite Positive - This is my life after the test came back.

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