Jeers and Cheers
Shame on Erasure's Andy Bell for waiting so long to come forward about having HIV ['Lots of Love, Andy,' April]. Cheers for Tom Donohue for having the courage to share his status with the world in the hopes of lowering infection rates ['One Man's Mission,' April].
Since I tested positive, I have shifted my artwork to bring HIV out of the shadows and into the light. If we hide in the shadows of shame, we help no one, not even ourselves. It is time that we come together and come forward as a strong, united, proud positive community, with love in our hearts and education on our tongues and our art.
If we do not confront all the stereotypes surrounding HIV, who will?
Ronney M. Rend'n
My New Anger
I learned this morning that I am HIV-positive. Now, granted, I have always been known to expect the worst, so when the counselor at the city clinic informed me of the results, all I could say was, 'So now what?' Even after an hour of his gentle approach and kind words I continued to ask myself, 'So now what?'
I am a month shy of my 25th birthday and cannot help but feel that my life has been stolen from me'that now I am forced to share it with this uninvited guest who refuses to leave.
I am not sure who I contracted the virus from.'And I am not sure if that matters at this'point. I don't do drugs and'consistently practice safe sex. Well, at least I thought I did. So when it comes down to it, am I angry at the disease or at myself?
After walking all over San Francisco, I came home and looked up every bit of information on HIV that'the Internet had to offer, trying to take ownership over my body again by becoming aware.'But even as I went to the local'market to fulfill my craving for'Ben & Jerry's, I couldn't help but look around at the other late-night shoppers and realize that things are different. I am different.
So now I figure out'how I am going to tell'my best friend that I will not be able to father her child, inform the'guy I have been dating that'I have a permanent houseguest, and tell my mom that I let her down.
I ate all the Ben and'Jerry's. I'm angry. So now what?
Thanks for listening to my rant. I haven't told anyone yet. I guess I felt the need to vent.
Groove Is in the Heart
I was impressed by LeRoy Whitfield's honesty and that of the other people quoted in his April column ['Music Is My Mantra,' Native Tongue]. Since 1989, MusiCares has reached out to people in the music industry beset by some kind of crisis that they lack resources to deal with, including HIV infection, substance abuse, alcoholism or other addictions, hepatitis C, unexpected medical or dental costs, critical lack of work or housing, etc. You can learn more about us by going to www.musicares.com. We are the social services outreach arm of the Recording Academy. Thank you for your good work.
Dee Dee Acquisto
Director, Musicares North/East
Strength in Struggling Together
I thank LeRoy Whitfield for the articles he writes in HIV Plus. I look forward to Native Tongue each issue. I have hung with him as he has dealt with the virus and sought to make a place for himself in the big city.
Keep up the good work, LeRoy. I pray for your strength and my own.