Brad lives in New York City and seems to thrive there.
His busy life is consumed with meetings and visits and
deadlines. This all might seem quite normal for the average New Yorker.
Brad is anything but average!
He is living with AIDS. Additionally, Brad was born profoundly
deaf and has been living with a fast progressing loss of his vision - an
advancing condition related to his deafness called Usher's Syndrome. Every
day, he energetically moves around New York with his dog Odo. Occasionally,
his energetic pace is punctuated by a wave of exhaustion which reminds him
of the lurking virus which saps away at his strength.
Brad first contacted me when he was looking for a way to
advocate for other deaf people living with HIV or at heightened risk of
exposure to it. His foremost concern is for deaf youth, boys mostly, who
seem to have a very high risk of getting "lost in the system"
out of high school. He talks at length about deaf kids who become employed
in the sex industry in New York City and other cities where they sometimes
can't keep up with their studies and are exploited by pimps and other hustlers.
He feels certain that many of the deaf kids who are exposed to HIV haven't
got a clue about the disease and the risks.
Recently, Brad was contacted by a young deaf guy whose
doctor told him he was dying.
He couldn't understand how this was possible. Why? When?
Aren't I too young? I am deaf - why this too? Brad took care of him until
he died two weeks later as a result of his exposure to HIV.
It concerns Brad that there is still not a commonly accepted
ASL sign for AIDS. He feels that deaf people are being overlooked in the
education programs about AIDS.
Meet Brad's friend Ralph.
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