Author: M. G.
Rachel Dilley (48) contracted HIV about 10 years ago after having unprotected sex with a man she met through a dating website. In Rachel's opinion condom use was just a way to prevent getting pregnant so, because of her age, she thought there was no need for safe sex. The relationship lasted for a very short time and afterwards Rachel started feeling some of the symptoms of an HIV infection and after a few months her diagnosis arrived. 'I felt like I was walking into a black hole - and my first words were "Am I going to die?". Rachel is obviously still alive and she shared her story yesterday on the British TV show ‘This Morning', admitting how ignorant -please, allow me the term- she was concerning HIV/AIDS.
It's more or less the same old story: 'I just didn't know anything about it - I just thought you got it in Africa. I didn't know a white person had ever got it'. Rachel learned too late how wrong her beliefs were, but it's very important that she was able to share her own experience on television. The host of the show rightly defined Rachel's previous state of mind as extremely naïve, but I have no doubt that many other people are still thinking the same way as she did when she got infected.
Knowledge is the answer, the more you know the safer you are. Your age and social status will never protect you from the virus and there's nothing more to say. There isn't any need to comment on all the absurdities and urban legends existing about HIV and AIDS, we can list them all but eventually the risk is to make people even more confused. HIV is a sexually transmitted disease and everybody can get it: even though some social groups are at higher risk of infection, nobody is ‘normal' enough for saying ‘I'll always be fine". End of story.
Rachel's appearance on TV was an act of humbleness, to be able to admit ‘I was wrong' requires strength, especially if you're doing it in front of a camera. We appreciate this a lot and we wish Rachel all the best for the future. And for everybody else out there: look and learn!