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"I need to, um, tell you something. Okay?"

The boy in Dr. Chang's office was handsome and young. Too damned young at just 17. He hated this. He absolutely hated this. This is why he moved his practice out of Southern California. He had come thousands of miles and it wasn't far enough.

The boy said, "You are scaring me Doc."

"There's no easy way to tell you this William but, your test came back HIV positive."

William turned pale and Doctor Chang continued, "The test we use is not definitive and false positive results are quite common. We will run two much more precise tests before we know for sure. These tests take longer to process and we won't have the results back for two weeks."

Silent tears rolled down the boys cheeks.

Doctor Chang continued, "My advice is not panic. These false positives are very common in the ink blot tests. You are in for difficult days before we know for sure. I can tell you that the common test false positive results are one in three."

William asked, "What if it really is positive?"

"AIDS is relatively new and we're still learning about it. People who get infected may not become really sick with full blown AIDS for five to ten years. We know that many of the people who are getting sick now were infected as far back as the seventies. There are some new drugs under development and in clinical trials. If you do turn out to be HIV positive, you may not become symptomatic for a whole decade. Research on drugs and treatments is ongoing and we aren't going to give up."

Doctor Chang took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes. He said, "I won't lie to you William. The prognosis for anyone that is HIV positive is very grim. The important thing now is for you to not give up. We don't know for sure and the tests will tell us. Then we will decide on how to proceed."



This is what it was like.

If you can't imagine, I'm glad.

If it's burned into your memory and you can never forget it, I'm sorry.

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I can't stand to read pieces like this yet I can't help myself. All too tragic and heartbreaking. Especially knowing that if the powers that be wouldn't have labeled it as the gay disease, we might have saved thousands. Written well, imagery is vivid, and tragically all to real. 



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