My uncle, Boston talk show host David Brudnoy, was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. He battled the illness for 16 years before passing away in December 2004. We weren’t blood relatives: he was a thesis student of my grandfather and close colleague and confidant of my father, a Boston-area journalist. But for the most part, he was a member of our family and, in turn, my introduction to the history of the AIDS epidemic in America.
I’ll always remember how David dealt with his sickness, how he returned to host his program on WBZ radio after his hospitalization and near death in 1994 with almost frenetic intensity. In a fond remembrance, Shane McLaughlin wrote in the Boston Globe that Brudnoy began broadcasting from his apartment four nights out of five, welcoming his radio guests into his home and eagerly offering them cocktails. He decided to forgo his annual birthday celebration and instead mark his “Death Day” with the same group of friends (my parents among them) who waited by his deathbed at the close of 1994. While his body wasted away, his distinctive mind and wit persisted until his death a decade later. He was one of my role models, and one of the few people who inspired me to go into journalism.
While I am not HIV positive, this is still my AIDS story. HIV/AIDS affects everyone on this planet, regardless of age, gender, sexual preference, or socioeconomic background. Most people know someone — a friend, family member, or adoptive uncle, or even an acquaintance — who has experienced the gravity of the AIDS epidemic.
So, on this World AIDS Day, I’m inviting you to share your AIDS stories with us here on The Atlantic Tumblr. If you know someone who is living with AIDS, or are HIV positive yourself, feel free to submit a post or tag your entry with #My AIDS Story and we’ll host your submissions here.
Thanks for sharing; we look forward to hearing your stories.
— Jared Keller, Associate Editor
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- jmica answered:My biological mother contracted AIDS before I was born and it was her eventual demise. I admit this when asked, but dont think about it much
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- jotmatt answered:My uncle died of AIDS that he got through a blood transfusion in the early ’80s. He was a great role model to me and my sister!
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