September #94 : Cell Culture

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues




Table of Contents

Standing in the Shadows of Love

The Great Doctor / Patient Face-Off

Mailbox

Boy Talk

Girl Talk

Name Recognition

Dynamic Duos

Work That Visit!

It Takes a Villager

Urinetown

Devil in a Blue Dress

U.S. Armed Cervixes

Cell Culture

Milestones

Class Act

Good Book

Rape OutRAGE

It Happened in September

Hitting the Switch

Missed Doses

Overexposed

Count Down

Tailgating HIV

20%

Potty Mouth

Booty Call

London Calling

Test Drive

Aid for Medicaid

Editor's Letter

Lei'd in the Shade

The Wings Beneath His Wind



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


email print

September 2003

Cell Culture

That November morning in 1997 was gray and windy, as if it already knew. At 6:30 a.m., I was taken from my cell at the state penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, to a “call out” (appointment) at the prison infirmary, once a school on this centuries-old former plantation. The air conditioning fanned a hospital chill while I waited on a bench with 15 other guys. Loud talking and laughing are banned, so the mood was wintry, too.

A guard walked by and told me, “You’re here for Clinic C.” That’s the AIDS clinic, and I frantically stretched my memory, trying to recall my every sexual encounter.

From the windowless exam room, the “specialist”—a tall, elderly white man who used to be a veterinarian—told me I had HIV and sent me off to an isolation unit. I clutched a paper noting that my CD4 count was 340 and my viral load 15,000. A sign on the door of my new cell (I was locked down 23 hours a day) warned, “Contaminated inmate inside. Do not enter without proper precautions.” A few days later I was led to a meeting with two men from the state health department. “According to our records,” one intoned, “you are a well-known homosexual.” I ack-now--ledged that I’d had sex with three people in the two years since I’d arrived at the prison. Those three were later told I was positive (they’re all still negative). One landed on the unit with me. During his hour out on the tier one day, he somehow got close enough to my cell bars to pour scalding water on me while I dozed.

During my three months in isolation, before I was moved back to the general population unit, I felt utterly alone. The nurse had no time to talk, and I didn’t know any other positive prisoners. One day I spotted my medical file, placed on a table by a prisoner who worked in the infirmary. It bore a bright yellow sticker reading “chronically ill inmate.” Within 24 hours guys were hollering, “You have that shit.” And boy, do I.

-Lester Lewis, Jr., Lousiana State Penitentiary




[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    fokisi
    Long Beach
    California


    usuallyhappy
    Palm Springs
    California


    hollywoodvers1
    Los Angeles
    California


    clintonjrsyr
    syracuse
    New York
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Are you a regular coffee drinker?
Yes
No

Survey
Pop Watch

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.