Although I realize there are other diaries on this topic, this is one that is of great personal significance to me, so I've taken the opportunity to use it for my first diary.
I tested positive in 1985. I had previously been in the Hepatitis B vaccine trials and, as a result, I know I have been infected since sometime prior to May 29, 1981 (the date of the first blood draw that later tested positive). In all probability I was infected in the middle of December, 1980. I had a very suspicious set of symptoms, which I assumed at the time was the flu, just prior to Christmas of that year. It usually takes anywhere from six weeks to six months after infection to begin testing positive, using the most common form of test available.
The first person I knew of to be diagnosed with what was then loosely refered to as "gay cancer" (of course it was Kaposi's Sarcoma), received his diagnosis in the fall of 1981. He and two other people I knew were the first of my friends and acquaintances to die, all three of them in 1983. One of them received his diagnosis only the night before he died.
I lost my partner of six years to AIDS, fourteen years ago this coming Monday. My previous partner died a few months later (in fact he died the day of the 1993 gay March on Washington).
To date, I have lost over 160 friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances, the most recent of whom died this past summer.
There are many ways of making a difference; I don't claim mine is the only one or even the best one, but it has helped me very much and hopefully has helped others as well. Every year but one since 1999, I have ridden my bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles, first on the California AIDS Ride, now on AIDS LifeCycle. I've raised over $30,000 over the years.
My rider number is 4188 in case you would like to sponsor me (I hope I'm not being out of line here). Actually it would be nice to know if there are any others here who bike for AIDS on this or any other event.