Scarlet letter: a Christian with AIDS
The following is an actual letter I sent to a close Christian
friend in 1999, immediately after being diagnosed with HIV. I
hesitated going public with this now, not wanting to throw fuel
on the fire of those who would cruelly abuse this information
against me in a vain attempt to discredit what I say and write
on many controversial topics, narrowly focusing on this
imperfect messenger rather than concentrating on my God-given
However, I trust that the many principles involved here - the
process of conversion, love and forgiveness, faith and patience,
how perfection is our goal and destiny, how deadly serious sin
is, making the most of our experiences, the amazing grace of
God, etc., can benefit others who are able to glean something
positive from such life experiences to bless their own lives and
others and glorify God.
My Christian friend from NFO, Jen, emailed me when she found
out about Tony, other than being sorry to hear it: "I really
hope that this may be some sort of wake up call - you're too
smart to do some of the stuff you do, and you have a lot of
friends who worry about you...".
She knows, because I've talked with her a lot, that I've been
far from a disciplined Christian when it comes to sex outside of
marriage. She's a "born-again virgin," to her credit, vowing
never to have sex again until marriage - so help her God!
The wake up call if TOO LATE, in one sense. After finding out
that Tony had the dreaded disease, I thought it's more likely I
would have it since I've been more "risky" than him (and we're
only friends), so I went and got tested to play it safe (pun
intended). Well, I was devastated yesterday morning to have the
nice and pretty lady tell me that she "didn't have good news."
I've been diagnosed with HIV by the Eliza test and it's been
backed up/confirmed by the European blot test. My first thought
was where is the highest building to jump off of, as tears
filled my eyes, and then I was in that dream state where this
can't be happening, this is all unreal, I'm watching a movie,
how will I tell mom and Kim and Lisa and everybody, why did I
have to be so stupid? Why couldn't/didn't I stop sinning and
live? As Cher sings, "If I could turn back time." But the woman
tried to comfort me that whereas most people used to die within
2 years, now many are living up to 10 years without any
symptoms. I also don't have any symptoms now.
She gave me all the information and numbers and places like
David's House and MCO to help out people like me with no
insurance (and now I'll NEVER be able to get any), all the
information that I never wanted to hear or have to receive
(probably like you now, sorry)....
I went and told mom in person, as Bob suggested, and she told
Kim who cried with me on the phone, and they're going to tell
Lisa. Of course, I could live a "normal" life and outlive
everybody, one never knows. All I know is I prayed to God years
ago, in my beloved Israel, that I wanted to be in His Kingdom NO
MATTER WHAT - even if it took AIDS to help me get and stay
straight. Well, it looks like God might let my body be destroyed
to save my soul; or He'll let me have it, if He doesn't heal me
(and He could), to keep me celibate (since He knows I won't go
out and give it to others like some wicked people I know).
Mom said, "God hasn't let you live this long to let you die
now." I just hate the selfishness of sin, how I've now hurt and
affected my family, and then there's the STIGMA that a
struggling Christian writer would have AIDS! But God promises
everything works together for good, for those of us who are
called according to His wonderful Purpose.
This is only my second day of "living with AIDS" and I'm already
sick and tired of thinking and/or worrying about it. Of course I
had another test done right then and there just in case, however
unlikely, that they switched my blood tube with someone else's.
Anyway, life goes on.