Photo credit: lovethispic.com
A few months ago, I became pretty close with a girl at my school that I will call E. E and I knew each other last year, but we weren’t as close as we are this year. We get along really well and love to hang out, text, call, and go places with each other. I was really glad to have made such a good friend. But something bad happened not long ago that threatened to mess our friendship up. It had to do with bad information about HIV.
My family is trying to adopt another child with HIV. Like me, the baby is from another country. I was so excited when the agency sent us his pictures and file. He is the cutest ever. Since E and I are good friends, I wanted to share my good news with her. I texted her that I might be getting a baby brother soon and that I was so happy. She texted that she was happy too. I texted her his age, his name, and sent her one of his pictures. In the picture he has an IV in his arm. She texted to ask me why he had an IV and I told her that he was in the hospital. She asked me why he was in the hospital and I said that he had HIV and had gotten sick, so he was starting HIV meds.
She acted very strange. She texted me that I needed to be careful when he comes here to live because he might “give” me “AIDS.” She told me that I shouldn’t share food with him and that I needed to be careful with his spit up and diapers too or I might “catch AIDS from him.” I was totally shocked. I thought she wouldn’t act like that since she knew that I did things for HIV. Like she knows that I raise money for AIDS Walks and go to HIV meetings with my mom and stuff. But I guess she didn’t realize that I have it because we never talked about it. Now I was sad because not only was she throwing shade on my future little brother, I figured she would have a problem with me too, since I have the same thing he has.
I texted her that you can’t get HIV from saliva and baby diapers. We then started arguing through text messages. She said that you COULD. I said no, you only get HIV from sex, needles, and birth. She said that I was wrong and that her parents had told her you could get it from blood, sweat, saliva, and pee. She said her parents studied science in college so they knew a lot about health stuff. I told her the stuff they learned must be really old because it was wrong. I was getting really upset and texted brb [be right back] to her.
I felt really frustrated. I went to my mom and asked if she could text me some websites about HIV for a friend. She asked me why, and then noticed the sad look on my face. I handed her my phone and she read the messages. “I’m so sorry, baby,” she said. She told me not to be mad at my friend and her parents because they were just ignorant about HIV and didn’t know they were wrong. She gave me three websites and I sent them to my friend.
She said that she would look at them later to learn more. I hoped she would. I felt like nothing would be the same between us anymore if she had a problem with people with HIV. Because I am a person with HIV. I care about her a lot, but if she can’t accept HIV then our friendship is not going to last. I don’t want people around me who are scared that they are going to “catch AIDS” from me.