How did she determined who infected her? When I learned that I was HIV positive, I was shocked. We didn't know much about HIV back then and I was referred to the National Institutes of Health for a study on HIV. Based upon everything they knew back then, the doctors had a list of standard questions to help you determine the source of your infection. They were: 1) Have you ever used intravenous drugs? No, in fact, I have been both drug and alcohol free my entire life... For Real; 2) Have you ever had a blood transfusion or used blood products? No; 3) Have you ever been tattooed? No; 4) Have you traveled to Africa in the last six months to a year? No; 5) Have you had sex with a man who was gay or bisexual? No, not to my knowledge; 6) Have you had sex with someone who currently lives in Africa or has traveled to Africa? Yes, was the answer to that question. I had been intimate with an incredible man from Guinea Bissau. We met abroad and spent time together whenever he visited the United States. After monthly letters for years, we had lost contact. So for a while, I believed him to be the source of my infection. I started to believe that maybe he had stopped writing because maybe he was very ill or dead.
A legitimate question could have been: Do you think you infected anyone between the time you were actually infected to the time you learned you were infected? Why is the number so important to her? I have asked myself over and over. It seems to me, if you've been following the series, the questions that she asks are loaded. She seems to think that I am hiding something. Or that I’m not the person I claim to be. Well, I am who I am. A strong black woman who has tackled HIV/AIDS head on! There is no trick to it. I made a choice to have sex and it left me with HIV. I've taken ownership of my culpability in my HIV infection. I wake to that demon every single morning!
But I will tackle this: I believe that I was infected in 1983, I donated blood in the spring of 1986, that donation determined my HIV status. So there was a three year window from the time I was infected to the time that I discovered my infection. When I first learned of my HIV status, I actually called ex-boyfriends. But generally speaking, I couldn't imagine anyone that I had been intimate with being HIV infected. Most everybody believed at that time that this disease was limited to white, gay men and IV drug users. I dated what I believed to be the cream of the crop. Nowhere in my wildest imagination would I think that someone I would be intimate with could have HIV. But I called most everyone I could locate. No one admitted that they were infected with HIV. That is a fact that still remains to this day. I have had only one partner that I know of to have HIV and he died years ago. This means I have pinpointed the source of my HIV infection and it confirms that I have not infected any one.