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Bad News Bearer

I give bad news for a living. When you get a call to come see me specifically – it’s not usually good.

I get to tell people that their test has come back positive for HIV.

It has gotten easier for me to do this but it is never easy.

Luckily, I spend much more of my time giving out negative results, providing education and promoting prevention.

Easy for me to say. I’m not the one sitting in the chair across from me waiting, hoping, praying for me to say anything but, “Your test result is positive.”

I’m not the one who breaks down into tears, who feels like the air has suddenly become too heavy to inhale, who needs a second…no, a minute…no, a lifetime to completely comprehend what I have just said.

So, on this World AIDS Day, I am grateful that when I give bad news, I get to follow it up with “Now here’s what you need to do…” In 2009, I can talk about someone getting to live with HIV versus dying from HIV. Don’t get me wrong, too many people are still dying but many more are living.

On this World AIDS Day, the first one I commemorate as a mother, I commit to doing whatever I can to make sure that my son knows that he doesn’t have to be one sitting in that chair waiting for bad news. He will know that he can’t afford to be apathetic in the face of this disease. He will know that HIV is preventable. He will know that he cannot leave it up to a select few to do the work that constitutes fighting against HIV. It is everyone’s responsibility, because it affects all of us.

This is my resolution for today, World AIDS Day 2009.

Will you stand up and make one?

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