A very familiar story for me. M y experiences are much like those of the writer. Not all of course, but the general themes of which he wrote. Although I have never had full blown AIDS, I received the 'news" in late 1988, after having a bout of pneumonia.It turned out to be just an ordinary viral one, and pcp, but I couldno longer even fantasize aboutthe possibility that I might be one of the lucky ones, and be spared. I went on to develop KS lesions, the first one noticed in the roof of my mouth, the day I flew to see my father, who had just had a stroke. This put me no longer in the category of HIV, but of AIDS. So, there I was, thinking that I was going to die, thinking that my Dad might die, and having to deal with my hysterical mother. Whom, of course, I never told about my AIDS.
I am also a physician, and was starting to catch all the minor infectious diseases that my patients had, so I decided to stop practicing, since there were still no really effective meds on the market yet. The protease inhibitors were not yet on the market and I figured that I only had a few years to live, at most, and high stress jobs do not help your body fight off infection.
In the mean time, one by one I lost all of my closest friends. You know how it feels to be the last man standing? It feels like the target is placed squarely on your head.
But then, after all of my friends were gone... RIGHT AFTER the last two of them died, the protease inhibitors came on the market. They were still experimental while one of them was still alive, and I tried to talk him into trying to get in one of the studies, but he had been through so much, that he no longer had the strength or will to hold out more hope for something that he felt would not pan out. But, it did. And I'm still the last man standing.
So, my life has definitely been changed. My career and friends are gone. The protease inhibitors have saved my life, but ruined my health at the same time. I use to be a decent looking guy, until the PI's destroyed my face, by causing lipoatrophy, which basically redistributes the fat deposits away from the face and extremities, to the trunk, which is the worst place for your body to store fat, health wise.
I didn't mean for this to sound like a litany of everything that I have lost, because I am still here and in reasonably good health now. If I hadn't turned into a gym rat, that might not be the case. And I am looking to meet new people. That's why I started frequenting this site. And I do have good friends, but it's just that they are not of our persuasion, so to say. I just need some good old gay men in my life, who can relate to my experiences and understand our way of life.