I Have Something to Tell You

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had unprotected sex.

I have. Even when I knew better.

Even when I really knew better.

When I was in my early twenties, I was “big sister” to a toddler through The Pediatric AIDS Foundation. She was two. She was chubby, cute and full of life. I loved her. She was HIV positive.

Around the same time, I met a women who would become one of my dearest life long friends. She’d lost her husband to AIDS in the very beginning of the epidemic in the eighties(when the Reagan administration ignored it). I lived in the DC area and cried my eyes out over the AIDS quilt spread out over the National Mall.

The sad fact is, there were times in my twenties when despite being well educated on HIV, I could not muster up enough self-love to protect myself. That’s really the bottom line.

Somehow I dodged a bullet.  

Regan Hofmann was not so lucky. She had unprotected sex with a man she was in a relationship with and contracted HIV. She was diagnosed HIV positive in 1996.

Her riveting memoir, I Have Something to Tell You is about her life post diagnosis and her decision to come forward publicly with her HIV status. Hofmann does an incredible job describing what it is like to live with HIV. Her mission is to rid the world of the stigma associated with HIV, (which actually perpetuates the disease) and to offer those infected with it the same compassion and consideration as those enduring any other illness.   

The only way I know to help with that is to admit it could have just as easily been me. Or perhaps you. Or your siblings. Or your friends.

Or maybe your kids.

Contrary to popular belief, women are especially at risk for contracting HIV these days. Fifty percent of all new HIV infections are among those under twenty-five. But, people over the age of fifty (and perhaps new to the dating scene after long marriages) are among the fastest growing segments of new HIV infection.

 

Hofmann is Editor of Poz magazine. Her blog can be found here.  

I Have Something to Tell You is an important book. Read it, and give it to the people you care about.  

Love.

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8 Responses to I Have Something to Tell You

  1. Jenny R says:

    I read that book a few months ago – it’s a great book and I’m so glad Regan shared her story.

  2. Carrie Link says:

    It’s the next book in my line up! Thank you for spreading awareness!

  3. Courtney says:

    Thanks for this post, Michelle! I LOVED this book – I read it a few months back and was blown away by Regan’s honesty and bravery. Then I happened to meet her at an EGPAF event in NYC, and she is just as awe-inspiring in person. Regan is a call-to-action, and I proud to call her my friend.

  4. kyra says:

    thanks for this! i will read it. and pass it along.

    i, too, dodged the bullet.

  5. Deb says:

    Thanks, Michelle. The book’s on my list.

  6. graceonline says:

    So important to keep spreading the word on HIV. Thank you for using a an eye-catching, provocative and inspiring method of motivating us all to stay informed, love ourselves enough to take charge of our health even when passion bids us forget it for a moment, and always, always, always to remember that compassion trumps fear. You did a good deed today.

  7. I’m putting it on my list right now. Thanks for such an important suggestion. Love.

  8. Dawn says:

    I worked with a group of kids who were positive or a member of their immediate family was positive. It was heart wrenching and I ultimately couldn’t stomach the grief when a kid would stop showing up. We all think we’re a little immortal – until we’re not.