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A color ink drawing of an internist seated at a desk taking notes about a HIV positive patient, seated next to her.

'Nothing Will Ever Happen to Them'
(ink drawing with tempera, 19' x 24')
©May H. Lesser


An internist, who specializes in adolescent medicine, is at the HIV Positive Clinic for Teenagers. She describes the rise of AIDS in these young patients as a coupling of many factors. The teenagers' personal identity shifts from having their identity defined by their parents to that of their own. They feel invulnerable, that nothing will happen to them. Their reckless behavior is influenced by the portrayal of sex and violence on television with a double message: "It is bad, it is tantalizing. We lack a lot of good things for poor kids to do; we do not have enough gyms and swimming pools and scout programs." She pleads, "Now why can't society see clear to make condoms a part of hygiene, like washing your hands to stay clean and healthy. It is beyond me. We need to try to protect them from getting a disease that they can't overcome!"

In this clinic cubicle, the 19-year-old who is HIV positive reports to the internist that the AZT tablets are not doing anything for her. She has to get out of her mother's house ... "It doesn't have any heat, anyhow!" She has nowhere to go and she has no money. The doctor gives her directions to a homeless shelter and a new prescription. The consultation is all the more painful because the young patient is very bright and the inevitability of death is not mentioned by her or her doctor.