AIDS epidemic in the USSR

When an adult suffers from а child disease, it is extraordinary painful. Just as it happened to me at the late Soviet time when I caught measles, was bedridden for three days with a fever heat of 40C and was going to die. But then a doctor came, diagnosed the rubeola, I was taken to a specialized hospital and alive and kicking in a couple of days.

I will never forget those three days – an awful headache, general muzziness because of high temperature and in three days no thoughts but those of fast and desired death. In the hospital I met a man of about 50 who told me his case history. Further narration is from the first person.

I’m not young already and all my age mates often club to start complaining of their illnesses – some have ulcer, others – pressure problems, etc. And I sit like an asshole and can’t keep the ball rolling since don’t have any serious diseases. There finally I fall ill, which made me really happy. “They will cure me” – I thought – “so at last I will have a good reason to beat gums with my aces”. I found myself in a contagious isolation ward of Botkin’s surrounded only by those with Joe Trots and where everyone carries his own altar in their arms. I was also given my own altar. I really joined the club. They analyze me but can’t find anything. At those times there appeared first reports of HIV-positive people in newspapers. The first one, as far as I remember, was a fellow from the foreign trade organization – a homosexual. That was the only association with AIDS. After failing to make a diagnosis the doctors decided that I had AIDS. And started putting me to the question. “Suppose you sleep with pants, come clean, we are doctors after all”. I deny this but they don’t believe me. They say: “Come on, faggot, we keep the medical secrecy”. Thus, a week passes (in three weeks I gave up).

I come up to my doctor and say: “All right, guys, make a diagnosis and treat me, I may take it till the day after tomorrow, or else I will leap out of the window – can’t stand it anymore”. The next day they hold a regular council when a pediatrician wanders in by mistake. On examining me, she diagnoses rubeola proceeding without visible hives for some reason, which prevented to make the diagnosis right. The day before yesterday I was brought here and now I’m well. The only thing I’m distressed about is that it’s even shameful to tell men about my experience – they discuss different serious ailments there and I have a child disease which is shameful to speak about let alone personal altars and how they passed me for a faggot. Then I have to hold my tongue.

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