January/February #141 : Pass the Mike - by Ionel Belfiore

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Growing Pains

A Stirling Example

You’ve Come a Long Way, Babies

My Generation

Can We Talk

Raw Hide

Parent Trap

Homing Devices

The Insure Thing

Birds, Bees and HIV

Pass the Mike

Sugar Rush

Cambodia Manhunt

Girl Talk

Iowa Rocks

Download This!

Angels in Africa

They Clicked

Raven Reviews

Fifteen Candles

Editor's Letter-January/February 2008

Mailbox-January/February 2008


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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January 2008

Pass the Mike

by Ionel Belfiore

Sharing the stage—and the limelight—with HIV

Who am I to be giving speeches and preaching about life to others? Why should I, a 19-year-old kid, have this great honor? The answer is that I acquired HIV at birth. This was in Romania, where I was abandoned to a poor orphanage with steel cribs and no diapers or hot water. I was adopted at age 3 by American parents and am now a freshman at Catholic University, in Washington, DC. I am healthy and lead a wonderful life. So, yeah, I speak out to help others who aren’t as fortunate. But that’s not the only reason.
My strongest motivation to speak is a pretty powerful memory I have. When I was 8, another boy who knew I was positive told me that by the age of 10, I would be dead. I kept this bottled in for a while, but eventually I broke down and my mom comforted me. My parents decided then that I should learn more about the virus.

I have often found that the hardest thing about giving speeches is not the speeches themselves but not letting all the attention get to my head. When I was younger I often felt delusions of grandeur and, to be honest, still do occasionally. I began to despise and attack myself for sullying the good nature of the cause. I now realize that it’s human to enjoy attention and it motivates me to give speeches and help raise awareness. So, I will accept this and use the part of me that enjoys the spotlight for the benefit of others. I don’t see any problem with it; it seems to me that everyone wins.   

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