My Aunt This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   My aunt, who is also my godmother is someone I want to tell you about. You might have learned to say no to drugs and to prostitution. My aunt has AIDS. She got it from prostitution and drugs. Eight years ago she found out that she had the HIV virus. Recently during the summer, I found out about her. My family knew, but I guess they had decided not to tell the children, because it would be hard on them. I found out the hard way. My aunt was always going in and out of hospitals, and inside, I knew something was wrong. I was thinking, you know, that maybe she had cancer or something. Then one day, I got off the city bus, and my mom picked me up to bring me home, and she told me that my aunt was HIV positive, and I had to go and visit her in the hospital.

I called my fianc" and told him that the next day we had to go see her. When I woke up the next morning, I was really nervous, because it felt weird to know that someone in my family had a terrible disease. I was afraid to see her because I didn't know what it was like to be that way. I walked in and hugged her. She told me not to be afraid of her. I knew that the disease was not spread by hugs or a kiss.

I was looking at her, and I felt bad, because she was in pain. She told me not to make the mistakes she had made in her life. I told her I would never do something like that. I felt like crying, because I didn't know how long she was going to live. When I left, I was scared it would be the last time I would see her.

The following day I went to see her again and she was happy, but sad and depressed inside. She hinted that she had AIDS, but I did not say anything. I was sad.

As the days have gone by, my aunt has gotten weaker and smaller. Things are getting harder for her. I am worried that I will never see her after each visit.

I just want people to know that just because someone has AIDS, you do not have to reject them. Still show them your love and hug them, hold them. Talk to them, and show them that you care, and make the end of their life the best it can be. Try not to blame them for the disease they have. You don't know what they are going through, and I don't know, but let them be happy. AIDS is not a joke. It's a disease that takes your life. n

Author's Note: I wrote this in September, 1991. My aunt passed away in June, 1992.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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