HIV positive speaker talks love
Scott Fried delves into meaning of intimacy, openness
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 20:04
About 100 students went to hear Scott Fried talk about his story of acquiring HIV in the 1980s April 12.
His lecture was not geared around the specifics of the disease, but rather Fried’s take on why he ended up in his situation and how to avoid certain forms of dangerous behavior.
Fried asserted that people subconsciously want to be ‘‘found out’’ about something that they consciously do not want revealed. By this he means that people yearn to be caught pretending to be something they are not in order to finally get to be who they really are.
“We want to be ‘found out’ by a loving other,” Fried said multiple times throughout the evening.
Fried repeatedly spoke of people stashing secrets in their pockets to describe the reluctance of people to share what makes them feel most vulnerable.
“We stash our secrets right next to our cellphones,” Fried said. “But, we would never text these secrets to anyone — not even our closest friends.”
Fried’s personal secret was that he was a gay Jewish man coming out in the ’80s — a time he said when society was less accepting of homosexuality and when the HIV/AIDs epidemic was largely considered a homosexual disease.
“We all ‘come out’ of something in our lives,” Fried said.
By “coming out,” he was suggesting that one should come clean about his or her true nature to loving others.
“I think [Fried’s talk] could be relevant to anyone,” senior Rebecca Habalow said.
Fried stressed that while people want to be “found out,” it must be by a loving other, and not someone who is going to cause hurt.
Unfortunately, he said that his secret was discovered by someone who hurt him in a profound way.
Fried acquired HIV 24 years ago from a stranger named Racy whom he met while working at an off-Broadway theater in New York City.
Though he acquired HIV through homosexual sex, HIV can affect people of all sexual orientations, Fried said.
Before they had sex, he had asked Racy if he had been tested for HIV, and Racy said he had.
What Fried said he failed to ask, and what he now recognizes is even more important than asking “have you been tested?” is “when were you tested?” and “what were the results?”
Fried stressed the importance of finding love. He believes that honest, intimate relationships will help people avoid dangerous behavior, like having unprotected sex during a random hookup.
“Intimacy is learning something new about yourself in the process of sharing something personal with another — and them treasuring that about you,” he said.
In response to a question from the audience, Fried went so far as to demonstrate what he meant by intimacy by somberly recalling a heartwrenching dialogue he had with Racy after their sexual encounter.
“I asked him if he would throw around a football with me sometime — and he said no,” he said. “I guess I wanted him to teach me how to be a man, but he just laughed at me.”
Fried went on to explain that the things people tend not to share with others are often what make that person interesting.
These things, he remarked, are often qualities that people will be cherished and adored for possessing.
“I think it’s amazing that despite the fact that he has a limited amount of time left, this is how he chooses to spend it,” first-year Alex Szymanski said.
Fried said that instead of just waiting for time to pass, one should feel his pain — give it its due — then let it go by sharing the pain with loving others.