Dying of AIDS

The other day I had dinner with a dear friend. I’ve known this man for years and he is oh-so-close to me in all ways of life. I honestly believe God put us together. I write about him in my book, in fact, I dedicated the book to him.

He has AIDS. In fact, he is one of the few living people that has the original strand of AIDS, from when it exploded in the 80s. He often recounts how all of his friends died long ago – and he doesn’t know one person, other than himself, who is still living with that original strand.

My friend, he’s dying. Quickly.

His CD4 count is now under 100. To give you understanding, a normal adult’s CD4 count is around 1,200.

He wanted to meet with me to let me know he is now one cold away from dying; and that he is putting his will and after death plans together because he probably doesn’t have much time left.

When I first met him he had no hope – ready to put a bullet in his head. Years later he’s at peace, knowing he’s loved by God, by me, and by a number of others connected through The Marin Foundation. It’s a strange juxtaposition to see someone on a journey for so many years, come to a place of peace, and then find out he has only a little time left.

He knows what is going to kill him.

No one should know that.

All I want is to be with him, and spend as much time as I can giving love to a man who has irrevocably left his mark on my life. The Lord has given him to me, to us, to this world; and one day soon the Lord will take him away. When that day comes, as is in his Jewish faith (an half of my heritage as well), there is happiness in death because we will finally be reunited with G-d, our loving Creator.

Much love.


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  • Annie

    I am so, so sorry. While I can’t understand your specific situation, I can relate on a small scale. I live in South Africa. We have the highest AIDS rate in the world. I have held a two-year-old whose CD4 count was 4 (and no, that’s not a typo). I can’t tell you how many people I know who have died. It sucks. You never get used to it. My heart goes out to you, from half a world away.

  • James

    Andrew, thank you for sharing, and for being such a good friend to another of our brothers in faith. God bless you both in the journey ahead.

    I felt drawn to Psalm 61 while praying for your situation. Maybe it will be of some help to you. Peace to you all.

  • I’m so sorry. Praying for him and for you. Peace of Christ to you both.

  • Mrs T

    Special love & hugs to you & your friend!
    May you have some special time together & may it give you the hope to continue your ministry in spite of the criticisms/darts.

  • Phil George

    When I was in nursing school I took care of a man who was dying from AIDS. I took care of him for three days. His name was Mike.

    When my teacher told me he died, I cried. He had such an impact on my life. When I saw the obituary I saw his family wanted his memorial money to go to my school.

    My God give you quality time together.

  • James Atwell

    I wished I could personally thank Andrew for what he’s doing and for writing the book “Love is an Orientation.” Because of this book I was able to come out without fear to one of my spiritual leaders in the church who, in turn, showed me nothing but love and wanted more to understand. As a matter of fact, it was he who suggested the book “Love is an Orientation.” Not only was I able to “come out” to him with no fear I was able to let him know that I am HIV+ and am probably one of the few still living with the original strain as I continue to fight now for over 25 years and through the grace of God, am in good health. Thank you Andrew! I wished I could meet you to thank you in person. Your book and God’s grace have completely changed the way I view myself as a gay Christian. God bless you and your organization!

  • John

    Hello James,

    I have a couple of questions for you. First, do you have an HIV doctor that you see regularly and are you currently recieving treatment?

    Second, what is your VL? Which drugs are you resistant to? Are there any you are not resistant to?

    Third, does saying that you have the original strand of the HIV virus mean that your virus is a wild type (not mutated)? If it has not mutated, then all treatment regimens should be options for you.

    Finally, some of the newer drugs have been shown to bring back T-cells, where others have failed in long-term survivors. These would include the entry inhibitor, Selzentry, the Integrase inhibitor, Issentress, and the NNRTI, Edurant. Has your doctor put you an any of these?

    Also, Andrew, one corrections for your post. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Therefore it is incorrect to refer a strand of AIDS.

  • John

    One correction on my post. It should say:

    Third, does saying that you have the original strand of the HIV virus mean that your virus is NOT a wild type (not mutated)? If it has not mutated, then all treatment regimens should be options for you.