Excerpts from Scott Fried's book, If I Grow Up: Talking With Teens About AIDS, Love, and Staying Alive
Scott uses himself as Exhibit A. He begins each lecture with his story of how he got infected with HIV in 1987 at the age of 24, during his first and only unsafe sexual encounter. His unstoppable approach to educating others can be encapsulated into one thought: One must understand the value of one's own life, and hold it sacred in order to refrain from dangerous behaviors that could lead to HIV infection and other crises.
He is the author of two books. If I Grow Up: Talking with Teens about AIDS, Love and Staying Alive is a moving chronicle of his experiences and lectures. The book is part journal, part guide and part love-letter, researched and compiled from hundreds of lectures to thousands of students across the country. My Invisible Kingdom: Letters From the Secret Lives of Teens, presents a cross-section of the thousands of letters from students who have written to Scott in an attempt to share their pain and doubt on such diverse topics as rape, eating disorders, suicide, self-mutilation, coming out, addiction and broken hearts. The book is also intended for parents and other adults who are concerned about the physical and psychological well-being of today's youth.
In addition to his lectures, Scott has conducted peer HIV-education programs for the New York City area, encouraging teenagers to teach their own peer group. He co-founded an HIV-positive speakers' bureau, through a nonprofit AIDS organization and in connection with the New York City Board of Education, providing free HIV prevention workshops to students in the five boroughs. He has also facilitated support groups for people newly infected with HIV and was seen on the television daytime drama Guiding Light portraying Bart, a young man living with AIDS.
Scott's writing has been published in numerous periodicals and newspapers and is featured in the books Living Proof: Courage in the Face of AIDS, The Faces of AIDS: Lives at the Epicenter and The World is a Narrow Bridge: Stories that Celebrate Hope and Healing. He has been interviewed on ABC "Eyewitness News" and "The Sally Jessy Raphael Show." He received the Honorary Star of the Rainbow Award for his work with teens and is a biannual guest speaker at the Office of President Clinton in New York City.