HIV, A Close Call
I am a 28-year old English man who has been living in Bangkok for the past 3 1/2 years. I have been coming to Thailand on and off since 2005 working as an English teacher. This story is about my close call with HIV which involves Brazil as well as Thailand and thankfully the story ends well.
I have always been the most careful person when it comes to sex and although I have definitely had my fun, I would always where a condom but sometimes everybody slips up once in a while. My friends in the UK and in Thailand even call me stupidly paranoid about getting AIDS.
Well this all changed when I had my close call…
I will begin my story in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where I lived doing English teaching for the most part of 2009. I began dating a Brazilian girl who I will refer to as "Viv". I met her in a rock clothing shop in a shopping centre in Sao Paolo. We hit it off and she was a really beautiful and lovely girl. I stayed at her family's small house in downtown. She lived in a bit of a dodgy part of town but they were very hospitable and accepting of me (a Gringo). I am from a quite a rough part of Manchester myself so I was no dummy to my surroundings.
Although I had to return to the UK for 2 months we kept in constant contact. When I returned we carried on our relationship but I would go to work in Rio for 2 weeks at a time and stay with my English mate and have a little fun on the side (not good I know). I eventually decided I really missed living in Thailand e.g. safety, food, girls, beaches, culture etc… so I left and she was quite broken-hearted as I was too cowardly to cut it off bluntly and I gave her a bit of false hope.
Anyway, fast forwarding 3 years I was then and am now living in Bangkok and have had a Thai girlfriend from the south (not a bargirl). She is from a wealthy farming family and we had at that point been together for 2 years. I will refer to my girlfriend as "Star". She was fully aware that "Viv" was my ex-girl and all that stuff. But one evening…
…Star said to me that Viv had sought her out on Facebook and told her that I had given her HIV!
My stomach immediately dropped and I felt as if time stood still. I just thought this can't happen to me (Mr. Paranoid, Mr. Careful.)
I began to cry hysterically and punched the wall as my girlfriend watched me silently. I said if you are joking this is not funny at all! She showed me the email and no, she wasn't joking.
In the email Viv claimed that after I left she had become very sick and that her blood test at the hospital confirmed she had HIV and that she had given it to her current boyfriend and that her family couldn't believe a nice boy like me could do this to her.
I had been suffering from a headache at the back of my head which was uncommon for me as I am very fit and usually never get headaches so I became even more scared. All this news couldn't have come at a worse time as I had just lost my childhood best friend to a motorcycle accident on Rachada Road here in Bangkok only a few weeks earlier. I decided I wasn't going to wait until after school the next day as I knew I would probably have a breakdown in front of the kids. I decided to go to the hospital alone that same night.
I went to the hospital and took the new "2nd generation HIV test" which is supposed to confirm if you have been infected just a month after exposure. It had been 3 years so no doubt if I had contracted HIV it would definitely show up in my system. As I waited I prayed to every God there was outside the hospital. Maybe you don't believe this but my girlfriend Star seems to have a sixth sense and she was convinced I didn't have anything and remained completely calm. She said "You aren't meant to die now. This isn't your time. I know it, trust me."
After waiting 2 hours the results came back "Negative". I jumped for joy in the hospital and thanked the 2 doctors and explained my story. They confirmed that this was the best test around and that if I had it after 3 years it would definitely have shown up. They also checked my headache and explained that I had a tension headache caused by stress, probably because of my friend's death. They gave me some muscle relaxants and the headache went away after a week or two.
Meanwhile Viv was trying to contact my 13-year old brother, my mother and my older sister on Facebook to tell them what I had done to her and that I needed to send her money. This was extremely stressful as I know this could get out and cause serious worry and social problems with my family and friends.
The hospital sent me a certificate of my negative HIV status which I forwarded to Viv. I apologized for her condition but assured her it wasn't me and that it could have been her current boyfriend who had given it to her.
After that I didn't her much from her, just the sad message of "We only have a short time in this world, come and be with me." I felt terrible for her condition as I truly did care a lot about her and it has haunted me ever since.
To conclude my story, this is what the possible scenarios could be:
1. I was with her and she was already infected and I dodged the bullet having unprotected sex with her from time to time.
2. Her new boyfriend gave it to her and I know how promiscuous Brazilian men are.
3. She was lying to get back at me and thought up a scam with her new boyfriend to try and get some money from me?? (this scenario I believe is unlikely.)
I hope this story was helpful and please please please be careful all of you, even the most careful of people can slip up and learn the hard way.
What a total bitch Viv is! Honestly, if someone told people close to me that I had infected them with HIV when in fact I wasn't HIV+ in the first place, I would go after them with absolute vigour. You're a very forgiving soul….