Plague Years

2001 Marks the 20th Year of the AIDS Epidemic. Are You Vigilant?

imageERICA NICOTRA
Age 27
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Artist

Do you practice safe sex?By its strictest definition, probably not. I'd have to say no, even though I'm in a long-term and monogamous relationship. About four years ago I was very paranoid about AIDS, but I think that paranoia was due to the fact that I didn't have enough information.

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime? I don't know. There's still no cure for cancer. My impression is that we all die, and that inevitably it is from some form of cancer.

What disease do you fear most?Cancer, because I smoke.


imageMARLON MARK
Age31
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Computer consultant

Do you practice safe sex?Yes, especially now because I don't have one girlfriend. It's like a party. What is the definition of safe sex? Is it being in a monogamous relationship where you only have sex with one person? Or is it considered safe if you have sex with a bunch of different people but are careful to wear a condom every time?

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime? I think there'll be a cure for one strain of the virus, but there are so many powerful versions of it. The problem is that people don't just resist that urge to get laid.

What disease do you fear most?I'm not afraid of disease, though for a while I was afraid I was going bald.


imageJEAN-MARIE
Age22
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Student

Do you practice safe sex?I'm in a relationship, and my girlfriend and I trust each other. In France, where I'm from, the numbers are getting worse. People have stopped using condoms.

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime?I really don't know. I've read that the early vaccines are already obsolete because the virus is mutating and becoming more powerful.

What disease do you fear most?I'm not worried about disease, although I do smoke. I think there actually are things to be worried about in the water and the air. When I eat American food, I get nervous because I don't know what's in it, and organic food is so expensive here.


imageDAVID HALL
Age25
Resides Brooklyn
Occupation Singer

Do you practice safe sex?I have a partner.

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime? I hope so. I think that because people are living longer with AIDS, the public has gotten more complacent about it. I'm from San Francisco, where the epidemic started, and people there seem to have forgotten about the damage it caused when it first broke out.

What disease do you fear most?I think it's more likely that I'll fall down an elevator shaft or something than that I'll get sick. Prostate cancer runs in my family, but I believe positive thinking can ward it off.


imageBRIAN WADE
Age34
Resides Westchester
Occupation Truck driver

Do you practice safe sex?Yes. You have to be safe. To consciously put someone at risk of contracting a disease is malicious.

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime?I believe there is a cure right now, but politically and financially it may be more profitable to not find it. If we cured AIDS, where would the people who were making money from these things work? At McDonald's?

What disease do you fear most?High blood pressure runs in my family, so I'm careful.


imageDANA DITULLIO
Age35
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Artist

Do you practice safe sex?Yes, I'm a one-man woman. Doing the AIDS Walk taught me a lot, including all about dental dams.

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime?

There's so much money involved in AIDS research that it makes you wonder whether people are just sitting there twiddling their thumbs and watching the grant money roll in.

What disease do you fear most?If it's not one thing, it's another. I could get hit by a car two minutes from now. At this rate, pretty soon we'll be having sex like they did in Barbarella, palm to palm.


imageLEON BELTRAM
Age31
Resides New Jersey
Occupation Designer

Do you practice safe sex?I'm in a monogamous relationship.

Do you think there will be a cure in your lifetime?I hope so. I think we've gotten used to the disease and to the fact that people are living with the disease instead of dying right away. They're now selling AIDS drugs very cheaply in Africa.

What disease do you fear most?I notice that a lot of my friends are dying of cancer. Does that make me old?

 
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