The men, women and children in these pictures are all HIV positive or have Aids. They speak of passion, hope, strength and love; and about the disease with which they are living and to which some of them have since succumbed. This coming Friday is World Aids Day; may the portraits and the writings on these pages serve as a testament to the human spirit
Sunday 26 November 1995
A commonly held opinion and statement when I decided to adopt this wonderful little girl. Not a very convincing argument considering we're all going to die anyway. But aren't you afraid you're going to get close to her?...
That certainly was my intention. You don't alienate a human being when you know he or she has a terminal illness. The point was to establish and prolong quality of life.
What if you "catch" it?...
Yes, I did catch it. Thank God I caught it. I caught the meaning and substance of unconditional love after 40 years of searching and it came to me through this little girl.
I have felt the sting of criticism and endured ignorance, apathy and discrimination. All in the name of being a mother. LAURA AND JIMIYA POISEL
North Liberty, Iowa
When you are diagnosed as a person
with Aids you quickly discover who
really loves you. In my case that
turned out to be friends and
my entire family, even people I
barely knew. That's a great feeling,
and combined with a natural inclination
to weed out the unessential things in
life - the things that aren't fun or
aren't important - it's made me some kind
of better person. Deeper, maybe, more
The ironic part of all of this is
that it's hard to imagine anyone
falling in love with this new man,
trapped inside a ravaged body. Still, hope
hasn't died in my romantic heart,
though its pulse is weak.
New York City
As I look into my future
I somehow always see my past.
When I close my eyes,
it all comes rushing back.
Tears of regret, I don't cry anymore.
Somehow the child in me is trying to be heard,
but the woman I am
cries at night, when I'm all alone.
I've gotten very good at hiding
the pain inside.
So good that I don't feel the bitterness at all.
Life goes on, the sea of heartbreaks,
and Aids is just another wave
that has crashed down on me,
life goes on.
VAREE SUTHIREUNG (above)
We're born alone, we die alone.
I thank God for each day
she's given me
JOHN LESNICK (below)
New York City
Being HIV positive has set me free
from another disease I was already fighting,
the disease of addiction.
To be free from drugs is
truly a blessing.
I look at my virus as another chance at life.
And believe me, this is living.
LINDA JORDAN (above)
West Hartford, Connecticut
I used to be one of those people
you would cross the street to avoid,
a drug addict.
Then I found out I was HIV.
Now I'm having a great time
living life on its own terms.
I've learned how to be
to myself - first and foremost.
I eat right, get the proper rest,
and avoid such luxuries
as anger and stress.
I network with others who believe in having a
Positive Mental Attitude.
I am living with this disease,
not dying from it.
I have hope that with this simple prescription
I will be alive when a cure is found.
VINCE CONNER (below)
Brooklyn, New York, New York
Losing Life is not what hurts -
Losing your Love and your touch
And your Intimacy has made me like
A Leper -
Turning to my Lord to fill the hole in my heart and never leave me
To Die Alone.
Serving to tell others there is one
Who will never abandon us.
Overcome evil and prejudice with
Good, and lies with truth and
hatred with Love - This is what
Keeps me Living - and Loving!
RHONDA SCHULTZ (above)
Having the "Virus" is a
blessing in disguise.
It is the catalyst
that has brought us
together and helps us to stay
We all know that cleanliness
is next to Godliness
and nowhere in the
could you be more at
than next to
DANNY RAMIREZ and YVETTE FONTANEZ (below)
Bronx, New York, New York
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