Five and Zero

December 1, 2002

There were about 5 of us, playing pool in my basement. The twins and a few assorted members of our close knit group. The twins were the leaders of the group, a little smarter than the rest of the pack. When we played pool, we talked about everything from music, to girls, and occasionally politics and the world. We somehow got on the conversation about AIDS and one of the twins replied, “By the time we’re 20, we will know someone with AIDS”. A very shocking statement in 1986, especially coming from a 13 year-old. We all nodded, agreed and didn’t mention it again.

But that statement stuck with me since. Who in our little group would become infected? Quite honestly, none of us were infected by 23….or 28, the age the group is now. I don’t know anyone who has AIDS/HIV. But being children of the 80’s we all were afraid of catching it. So we were a little more protected than kids were in our parent’s time. Almost everyone used a condom but those who thought “it couldn’t happen to me”. Those kids, in the back of my mind, were just feeling sheltered by living in a small town in the south. Thinking that only “Fags” got AIDS.

By the time most of my age group should have graduated college, it became apparent that previous thought was wrong. In the media we heard of drug users, women, children, and straight men all becoming victims. We heard about Magic Johnson, Arthur Ashe, Ryan White, and Eazy-E all suffering with HIV and AIDS. But I still didn’t know anyone personally.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t care.

The purpose of Link and Think is to build awareness, share stories, and to share resources. I’ve shared my story and now I’m going to share some links if you want to help out and just some articles to help understand those who are afflicted. While AIDS/HIV doesn’t effect me personally, it effects the communities around me. So help those in need and the fight for a cure.

AIDS SURVIVAL PROJECT

Nancy’s House – Help for people with HIV and AIDS in East Tennessee

Chattanooga CARES