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Listening to Young Voices


This is a compilation of poems written by young people who are expressing their thoughts about HIV and AIDS. Some express great fear and anger, others express their hope. With this anthology we hope to look beyond the sickness and devastation of this epidemic and be guided by the light and hearts of these young people. Perhaps by listening to what our young people feel we can find a cure faster. We honor their courage to voice their concern.

Sandra Isham Vreeland
Director, AIDS Poetry Project

These are poems by young people about AIDS gathered through the AIDS Poetry Project. For more information or to request an anthology of these poems, please call (212)254-9628.

I may have a disease
but I'm not any different
I feel on fire
I can do what anyone can do
and I can't do anything
I don't have a chance
My blood is different
I'm supposed to be different.

Frankie Keller
9 years old

A third of AIDS cases worldwide are children under five.

When AIDS dies
light will show
people will rise
life will shine
and the dark will go
into a deep hole
AIDS will die with
the black darkness
of death.

Sam Wiehoff
9 years old

In New York City, nearly 10,000 children have lost one or both parents to AIDS.


I felt the fear inside me building up
As I saw my friend falling apart
Oh, please don't leave me,
For I'll never see you again.
All the time I've spent
Not getting where I want
All I ever want
Is to see you the last day
I'd regret it all my life, just like you said,
"Don't forget my life. We'll be together forever."

Etan Rand
11 years old

By the year 2000, if current trends continue, the number of AIDS orphans in the United States will exceed 125,000.

I don't mean to hurt,
Please come ride the roller coaster
with me.
Be my companion,
live hand in hand with
the disease.
I need to find it --
Find the one
The help
The cure.

Sophie Holman
11 years old

AIDS cases among adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 grew by 88% in 1992 and 1993.


AIDS. What do you
feel when this word
is said to you? Do you
shiver? Do you shudder?
Or do you listen?

If you shiver, you
are shuddering. If
you shudder, you are
shivering. But if you listen, you are

When you listen, you
understand more about
AIDS. Not only AIDS,
but HIV, the virus that
causes AIDS.

You understand the
pain and fear and remarks
that the people who have
it go through.
If you listen,
you can understand.

Sara Berger
12 years old

One-fifth of all people with AIDS are in their 20s and probably became infected with HIV in their teens.


A deadly disease.
A mournful pain.
I feel the pain.

Losing everyone you know.
A hurtful feeling for you and them.
This is the mortal pain.
I feel the pain.

Not being able to do what you
Used to be able to do.
This is the physical pain.
I feel the pain.

I feel the pain.
They suffer so much.
We always mourn for them.
I feel their lives.
I feel the pain.

Andrew Zinaman
12 years old

Thirty-seven percent of all teenagers diagnosed with AIDS are female.

She lives in fear
Always waiting for
her sister's scream.
A scream that comes
from so far deep inside
that it tears you limb from limb.
What would she do
when the scream came?
Hug her, kiss her, comfort her?
And then what?
What about the next day
what would happen then?
She needs a cure
for the scream.
must work for the cure.

Rachael Peters
14 years old

Three million women and children will die from AIDS during the 1990s.

AIDS is more than just a word.
It doesn't rhyme, or sound a
certain way.
It doesn't assign itself
to a meaning.
AIDS cannot be summed up
into one definition.
But one can try:
Sadness, tears, depression.
Moments, unification, love.
Beauty, ugliness, plainness.
No, AIDS is more than just

Georgia Elrod
15 years old

AIDS Poetry Project Workbook 2

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This article was provided by AIDS Poetry Project.