I don’t often talk about what killed my brother. While I don’t shy away from talk of suicide (my mother’s death) or bowel cancer (my father’s), somehow – despite my job and my blog – I don’t often talk about AIDS.
My brother caught HIV, six years ago. He died from Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a cancer many AIDS patients get. He sucked the health lemon, getting sick fast, and dying in under a decade. And I should probably talk about it.
Is there are reason I don’t talk about HIV? Am I ashamed or embarrassed to say that my brother had AIDS and died from it? I don’t think that’s it, but maybe.
Here’s how it happened. It’s pretty simple. He was with a guy. The guy – who was supposed to use a condom, and told him that he was putting it on – stuck his unprotected cock in my brother’s arse. A cock which attached to a man, we found out later, who was diseased (and knew it. Good thing he’s left the country …). He wasn’t a stranger, but he wasn’t a friend. Just another guy looking for some sexual pleasure. And my brother got sick because of one mistake – trusting someone he didn’t know well.
It’s that easy.
I don’t blame my brother for this, although there have been times that I’ve wanted to. Because I’ve had unprotected sex in the past. I’ve had unprotected sex with people whom I didn’t know very well, hadn’t asked about sexual health, hadn’t gotten an STD check with. It could have been me. I’ve been lucky, and have nothing worse than an HPV variant making me more susceptible to cervical cancer.
There’s a good reason I stay safe these days. Why I get an STD check at least once a year, make sure new partners and myself are tested prior to any sexual contact, and use condoms for vaginal and anal contact even after that. Dental dams and condoms are a must-have part of my toy kit, and there are always condoms tucked away in a cool part of my handbag.
I practice safer sex because sex can kill you. (Anything can kill you – but why up the risk factor?) Nothing’s 100%.
One cock, from one man, missing one condom, ultimately led to my brother’s death. And that sucks. So look after yourselves, okay? Use barriers, get checked regularly, and communicate with your partners. Live longer so you can have amazing sex for longer.
Too many people have died from this already.