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Readers Sound Off

Readers Sound Off

Finding Inspiration I regularly read HIV Plus because I relate to many of the people profiled in your articles, particularly Tommy Morrison ['Rematch,' August]. He and the other people I meet in the magazine inspire me to be all that I can be. I'm 42 years old and currently serving a two-year sentence in a New York state correctional facility. As I often do when I'm a little discouraged, I pick up your magazine and educate myself. As Tommy Morrison said in his interview: 'All things happen for a reason. You just may not understand where God is leading you.' For me, the joy is in the journey. Michael Smith Comstock, N.Y. ----- Well, It's One Perspective I, like most Americans, have a considerable amount of compassion for the innocent babies that are born HIV-positive and for the spouses who contracted the disease from their cheating partners. As for the drug users and the sinners who are having unprotected sex, they get what they deserve. AIDS could be stopped if the people who are spreading the disease used some common sense for once in their lives. Michael Anderson Royal Palm Beach, Fla. ----- View From the Inside I have read many articles where people in society mention that their neighborhoods have been plagued with HIV because of men being released from prisons. Perhaps if such a statement was being made in the late 1970s or early '80s, I could attest to it. However, this is a new era, and the Illinois Department of Corrections, for one, provides information concerning HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases along with the offer of free testing to every prisoner entering or leaving an institution. I am one of many certified peer educators here at Dixon Correctional Center, and we take what we do seriously. Most of us are from the inner city, and most if not all of us have a history of high-risk behavior, including using drugs and having unprotected sex. We are very concerned about those who will be going back into society, where you, I, and our families live. We try hard to convey the realization of this faceless disease by showing how the virus is so easily spread, and we also explain to them how to prevent its transmission. Here at Dixon we are fortunate to have a cable TV bulletin board that allows us to answer questions that someone here might have but is afraid to ask in person. We deliver the message according to one's level of understanding, and we encourage them to get tested while they are here and also before release. Sad to say, many will enter prison already infected, and most won't know it. But thanks to the corrections department and the public-health department, which provide us with the necessary information and material about this dreadful disease, we are able to put the message out there. Nevertheless, there will always be those who know what can happen by having unprotected sex but will insist on doing it regardless of the outcome. No matter what they're told, some will get the message; others will get the virus. Unlike the penal institutions around the world, this virus takes no prisoners. I'd like to thank you all at HIV Plus; your material is very informative, and we appreciate your service worldwide. Anthony Steward-Bay Dixon, Ill.
30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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