Paul Monette's Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir Essay

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Paul Monette in his autobiography, “Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir” wants to make the younger generation aware of all the mistakes, suffering and deaths his generation went through fighting with AIDS, as he is convinced that it might help the new generation survive. He wrote his life story in 1988, soon after he was diagnosed with HIV and two years after his partner and close friend Roger Horwitz died of AIDS.

Disease split his time into the life before and the life now and it will inevitably take his life as a tribute to its devastating power. Not knowing if he will survive long enough to finish his book, Monette accepted his fate and gave up the hope of getting cured. Still taking his medicine and waiting for a medical breakthrough
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There was no escape: neither medicine nor willpower could cure this disease.

Monette recalls his thoughts after reading the first serious report about AIDS and not finding any signs of the disease in himself at the time. He felt “relieved” and “safe” and thought that he and his friend were not in immediate danger even though they were in one of the high-risk social groups. For several years after that report, he subconsciously denied the possibility of becoming sick, reasoning that AIDS killed “them,” gays from different social classes or leading promiscuous sexual life. Monette thought he and his friend were different.

By that time, his friend Roger had already been through an unexplained series of illnesses. At first he was diagnosed with amoebas, a type of sexually transmitted diseases. Together, Paul and Roger underwent a tough course of treatment, but only after it was complete did they find out that Roger was misdiagnosed. They “were ticking and didn’t even know.” However, based on that experience they became very cautious. Monette asserts that the problem back then was that nobody knew just how cautious people had to be. They led their sexual lives based of what they perceived was safe. For instance, Monette considered a small circle of sexual partners or occasional sex with chance encounters fairly safe. Apparently that behavior could not keep disease away and Paul and his friends “were

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