HIVers were mulling medical proxies and end-of-life decisions longbefore the vicious family battle over Terri Schiavo’s feeding-tube fatemade living wills a national issue. POZ asked HIVers if the world wouldhave been as caring if Schiavo had been a patient with HIV—and if thecase had moved these HIVers to deal with the living-will decision. Todownload your own advance medical directive, visit www.caringinfo.orgor call 800.658.8898.

Brian DiCrocco, 37
Telemarketer, San Francisco
Americawould have been even more sympathetic if Terri had had HIV. Ithorrifies me that her feeding tube was taken out. I don’t think thatshe left any clear instruction for that. I have a living will. There islife support I would want, like a feeding tube. I wouldn’t want to bekept alive if brain-dead.

Dyane Haddock, 40
ASOPresident, Tampa
Florida Americans are uneducated about HIV, so Idon’t think they would have been as sympathetic. Her tube should’vebeen removed, but there must have been a better way to let her go. Mykids understand why I wouldn’t want to be kept alive. I recently pulledout a computer program that helps create living wills.

Lora Tucker, 45
Program Director, Howard Beach, NY If Terri had HIV, the case would not have gotten the same attention, due to stigma.Her husband was her legal caretaker, and his wishes should have beenfollowed. Death is part of life—I wouldn’t want my family or me tosuffer by keeping me alive artificially. I have no living will—myhealth-care proxy died.

Jeff Hammond, 51
Reporter, Carrizozo, New Mexico
Peoplewould not have been as sympathetic if Terri had HIV. Everybody has theright to die with dignity, including Terri. I’ve been close to checkingout without a living will, but I have one now. My wife died of AIDSwhile I was in prison, and our wishes were not followed. I don’t wantthat to happen again.