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would have been similar to the previous 24 hours except that:

… 9pm last night I gathered with my Salsa family to enjoy a box of Jeff de Burges chocolate and fresh macarons just off the plane from Paris to Saigon. I’m such a big fan of white chocolate. And we seriously had way too much fun we certainly offended other guests in the coffee place.

… Too much cocoa gave me a nightmare – a heart-breaking drama among the people I know and do not know. 5 am, I woke up with tears in my eyes – still terrified by what happened in my sleep, I burst into crying, and fell asleep again. It’s been ages since I last had such a terrible dream.

… It was raining cats and dogs this afternoon when I decided to join in SMARTwork’s talk on HIV/AIDS in the office.

What’s most impressive about the 2-hour talk is the fact that Duyen – the facilitator of the talk – told everyone she’s an HIV positive. Her ex husband passed on the virus to her 1 month after their marriage some 4 years ago. After his death, she joined in a group of activists and met her current husband – also an HIV positive. They were brave enough to have a baby. Their baby is 15 months old and is not infected, according to the two HIV tests that they underwent. What a stroke of luck!

Duyen looks just like a healthy lady with a glowing acne-free skin and a fit body. That’s why 55 of us attendants were trapped in silence as she broke the news.

“What if I were discriminated and got so upset? If I put on my makeup, I would make a hot red-nailed standing out there in the street. Imagine how many men would be infected after one night with me?” – asked Duyen.

Yeah, it’s hard to imagine. No one would know if their partner is HIV positive or negative, especially when the blood test result of a newly infected person will still turn negative during the first 6-12 months.

HIV/AIDS talk is nothing new, and yet, the number of HIV infected people is still growing. At the end of the session, SMARTwork hopes for a future with no HIV/AIDS. Responsibilities. Awareness. Preventive methods. Community support. What else does it take? Ahhh, the list is endless.


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