So guess whose lab results come up on my “My Pet Virus” Google Alert? None other than Steve Schalchlin, the Ebert to my Roper. Here’s what he posted on Monday, in no way colluding with me...

"Also went to see the doc... My highest t-cell count to date: 525. And a great percentage: 21%. So, I don’t know that I’d say my immune system is strengthening since these numbers go up and down all the time, but it’s clear that my health is holding its own."

Too cool, even in t-cells Steve shows me who the boss is, besting my latest lab results by two measly t-cells! Well, he may have two more, but mine are wittier as a whole.

Since the last post kind featured the dark side of humanity, and the randomness of opening that book to the one page (of about 400 pages total) that had the word “AIDS”, I have to acknowledge the great coincidence of our Monday blogs.

When I met Steve in 1996, he was losing his battle against his pet virus. Well, his body was at least. His sense of humor was so effervescent, I had no idea how close I was to losing my new pal.


At the time, too, I didn’t know I was 3 years away from an AIDS diagnosis. I felt kind of indestructible at the time, really, realizing just how cool it was that I’d outlived that initial prognosis. I was never able to take it in before I spoke out about HIV, because I had a deep-seeded fear that the virus would take me some day.

When I did get sick in 1999, Steve was one of the few people who knew just how dire my health was, combined with my “rebel without a cure” attitude. Unlike me at the time, he’d seen friends die before. “If you don’t take these drugs, you will DIE!”, he emailed me.

Some would say that us two oddballs defied the odds to live to meet one another. Maybe. All I know for sure is that we are here now, blogging about record high t-cell counts. We’re both doing well, and that’s the good news... the bad news? Looks like his hometown of Hollywood is going to have to deal with the Hemo2Homo Connection for many more years to come.

Positively Yours,