When AIDS Was Terrifying

April 24, 2015 5:32 PM

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In the late '80s, AIDS was mentioned daily in the news, and misinformation and fear were widespread. I wondered how I could keep my young sons safe. So I volunteered as a Community AIDS Educator. I made my sons watch the training videos with me, and our living room became a sex-ed learning center for the curious adolescents in our neighborhood. My favorite video was the one where Reuben Blades explained safe sex by putting a condom on a banana.

I eventually gave many AIDS talks but never in a school, which was my original goal. AIDS Educators weren't allowed in schools because we might say the word "condom" in front of teenagers. I call this kind of thinking poverty consciousness. It includes making fear-based decisions while believing tha...

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