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The Revolving Door is the place where we publish occasional articles by guest writers. If you would like to submit an article for publication, please contact editor Bob Leahy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Through your eyes

Tuesday, 17 March 2015 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // Newly Diagnosed, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Revolving Door, Guest Authors

Guest writer Joe Lethbridge – he’s HIV-negative – imagines the thoughts of a newly diagnosed friend

Through your eyes

Recently a close friend told me he is HIV-positive. Even now, years after our learning about HIV, hearing about it still packs a punch. 

Being a close friend made it particularly more difficult. He recently moved to Toronto so I found out through messenger. I was not there to be able to console him but I am grateful he confided in me first. 

After doing interviews with a few people living with HIV and writing about others, I came up with this, written from the perspective of an HIV-positive person, together with the pen and ink drawing  above.


What is it that you see ?

When you look at me...

Or do you avert your eyes...

From what you think you see or are afraid to see...

Do you see only the red ribbon of hope or do you think I am hopeless?

HIV is not the sum of me.

In fact, it is a very small part of the equation of who I am.

HIV is not a part of my character.

Do you see me as "dirty" or "unclean"?

I have heard them all, sometimes from other gays as well.


If you look at me...

I mean really look at me...

Beyond my HIV-positive status..

The total sum of me..

Don't cry for me out of pity

Cry with me if you like...

Not out of sympathy but out of compassion.

The tears I cry when alone at times are not out of self pity.

The tears I cry are for the words I hear.




The tears I cry are for the looks I get or the people who avoid me.

HIV is not the sum of me.

HIV is only a small some of me.

About the author: Joe Lethbridge is an HIV-negative man living in Cambridge, Ontario.