After my trip to Italy, I came back to Paris with a smile on my face.
While back at work, I hesitated on whether to text the American I had met in Rome or not. I was hesitant. I knew he liked me but something inside of me stopped me from just sending him a message. Since I had him in my head and couldn’t decide what to do, I did what all millennials do. I am ashamed, yet grateful, to say that I stalked him.
I went on Google, wrote his name and last name and hit ‘Search’. There it was, the unexpected results. After his LinkedIn and company’s profile I found many American tabloids mentioning his life. His dating life to be more specific. That included him dating cheap MTV celebrities from 2010 and comments at the bottom of those articles from many people that said how much of a bad person he is. He was described as a financial scammer, a non educated person that has faked his degrees and someone who just dates a specific kind of women to elevate his status. Online people described him with some of the worst possible adjectives and as a top liar. One of those lies included that he is purely American and not half Italian as he would describe himself.
As I scrolled down my screen to read all comments I was more and more shocked. I did not expect to stumble upon that. Yet, many of the things I read made sense and reminded me of the same bulls**t that he also said to me. While in Rome, I did not pay much attention to his comments but it is true they felt a bit misplaced. I’m gonna be more specific, this guy told me that he has an old scooter because he has been robbed twice in Rome. Also, in the morning at his place we were talking about women’s rights and prostitutes’ rights and he commented something that when he was living in Miami he talked to a couple of stripers who told him they liked their job. That was a HUGE sign for me to run but I just debated back his ideas and even asked him “how come do you get to talk to so many stripers?”. No offense to all stripers. It is just that there was a certain degree of contradiction in the things that he said. So many stories, so much “blabla” and maybe some of the things he told me were true but after everything I read, I just felt that all that he just lied to me.
The moment I freaked out is when I linked all these lies and the fact that I did not wear any protection with him. Just like you read it (and I could not be more embarrassed) I did it without a condom. So how did this happen? Seat back and read this:
When we were about to get started I asked him to go get a condom. He went to the bathroom and when he came back he said there was just one left. I did not pay attention and after a while I realized he never put on the condom. I should have left for playing that with me. But the nice side of me rather asked him why he did that and he said that his penis goes down with a condom. I told him I did not care and supervised as he put it on. Indeed, it went down, he was ashamed and we ended up cuddling and talking. But after a while, the moment heated up again and we ended up doing it more than once without any protection.
As the saying goes :
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
So yes, shame on me for having trusted someone I met 12 hours ago and doing it without any protection. The worst is that I was not even stressed until I found out all these articles of who he was. All those hours with him I was still under the Rome effect, in a bubble, living a dream while putting myself at risk.
The next day I went to my doctor’s, who saw me so stressed and recommended me to chill at the same time that she sent me one million tests just in case. It all appeared negative. The only test I have to take again after 6-8 weeks later is the HIV test… and then is when the stress really started. I googled the HIV symptoms which matched what I have been feeling : diarrhea, vomiting, running nose so more or less very broad symptoms that could also mean stress. My doctor said I have been feeling what I have been feeling because I have been putting myself under lots of stress and that one should never check symptoms on the internet. They might be right but I was so scared.
I waited six weeks of stress, crying and anxiety attacks until I went to do THE test. I had two amazing friends that came with me, I went to the AIDS center to get immediate results, a very kind man asked me all about it with no judgement and then proceeded to take some blood from the tip of my finger. After the longest twenty minutes of waiting he called me back to tell me that my results came out negative. I was soooo relieved. Then, we talked a bit in which he explained that by not protecting yourself you immidiately enter a risky area but that risks increase or decrease (unfortunately) according to the population where you belong. He said that statistically (not in a judgmental way whatsoever) queer and black community have more chances to get the virus. He also explained that if the guy comes inside you the chances increase. I also learned by going to this center that during the first 48 hours that you have put yourself into risk you can go to a hospital a get treated immediately to stop the virus. Moreover, he said that today if my result would have been positive there is now a life long treatment that treats you so that the HIV remains stable stopping it from becoming AIDS, transferring it to a partner or future children. So basically, a person carrying HIV that gets treated can have a normal life as long as you take your daily pill.
I went out of the center with a huge relief in my body and soul, two HIV tests that I can take at home anytime (a just in case souvenir that I hope I will never need again). Lots of information about AIDS and gratefulness towards life for not punishing me for a one night mistake. In this case I got really lucky, but I promise, I will never go through that again and hope that you will not neither. Always protect yourself and if the person does not do it, run!
This article is for all those women whom like me have made a mistake that could have put their lives at risk. This blogpost is specially for all those women that for one reason or another are living life with HIV, accepting the present condition and being unstoppable. For the first time I was scared that a condition could stop me, that my life would change when at the end of the day whatever the result was going to be I would have kept being myself.