I remember being very young—no older than six or seven—when my mother first told me about HIV, which she probably referred to as AIDS, being the scarier condition everyone knew as sudden death. The moment and specific words used during the conversation have all faded into a vague memory, but the story about my mother’s second oldest brother, Michael, dying from AIDS complications in 1994 has been with me since.
Although I had been three-years-old at the time, I have no recollection of my uncle, but Mom told me how grandma wouldn’t allow Uncle Mike to use the dishes and silverware in fear of him spreading the virus. I feel no shame in my grandma’s actions since she lived during a time of the virus when people, including health professionals, had no idea what they were up against. Men, mostly white and gay, were dying left and right leaving family and friends with nothing but sorrow and fear while the government took its time before implementing policies and treatments to assist those effected across the country.Read More