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My Letter to HIV: A Letter From Mackenzie S.

April 7, 2012

Mackenzie S.

Mackenzie S.

Dear HIV,

So we meet again. I don't know if you remember me; I'm one of those people trying to fight you. I'm the one who tells your secrets, busts your myths, and stops you from spreading. I'm the one who tests at-risk youth in order to catch you early. I'm the one who tells the teens and twenty-somethings that they're infected and they need to start fighting.

But you and I have a lot in common.

We both unsuspectingly ambush at-risk youth. We're drawn to those who don't have the tools or education to protect themselves.

We are fierce, honest, and in-your-face about HIV.

We know a lot about needles, tattoos, and blood draws.

We want to grow, develop, and expand.

We love healthy bodies.

We really appreciate sex -- and know the risks when it's unprotected.

We both should take a vacation.

But the difference between you and I is that I am part of a movement, a team, a cause. I have backup. You're alone.

Now, as a Youth Educator, I'd never wish loneliness upon anyone. I can relate to outcasts. I ALWAYS want people to survive. But you're the exception to my rule -- I want you to fail; to stop spreading; to enjoy the life you have and leave it at that. Stop invading our bodies, minds, and souls.

We have more people educating, telling their stories, reaching out, and supporting others than you can keep up with. And we're getting smarter -- we KNOW how to protect ourselves and we're more willing than ever to take control of our health.

This planet isn't big enough for the both of us, and I plan on sticking around for a while.

Mackenzie S., Youth Outreach Educator, Indianapolis

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