These stories were reviewed and approved by a local panel for use in HIV
prevention programs conducted in street and community settings. The stories are
real and were published with a photo of the role model (or another person from
the target population). Role model stories like these may be used as a part of a
comprehensive HIV prevention program that includes information about other
risk-reduction strategies such as drug treatment and avoidance of high-risk
"IT WASN'T EVEN THAT TERRIBLE"
Tommy is 29 years old and lives on the north side. He uses heroin but he makes
sure that he doesn't share his needles or that he uses bleach so he doesn't get
AIDS. Tommy is a volunteer and he passes out bleach kits. One day we talked to
Tommy about using condoms. He told us "I don't put no plastic on. My women are
clean, like you guys." We asked him how he knew we didn't have the AIDS virus.
This made Tommy start thinking. The next day Tommy told us he had used a condom
that night. "I was going hot and heavy with this woman, and then I thought about
our talk about condoms, so I took a condom out of my wallet and slapped one on.
And you know what? It wasn't even that terrible."
I have a friend in my purse. This friend goes with me everywhere. This friend
saved my life. I like to have a good time. I hang with the girls down the
street. We talk about men and life. There's always plenty of needles and stuff
around. One day, I noticed my girlfriend Kim was missing. I asked around, and
found out - she got AIDS! Me and the girls talked about it. We decided to get an
AIDS test, just in case. After the test, I was so happy! I didn't have AIDS. The
counselor said since I had a bleach kit and was always bleaching my needles, I
had protected myself from getting AIDS from KIM. Wow! Like I said, I have a
friend that's always with me. The friend is my bleach kit. The bleach kit saved
my life once... so I'm going to use bleach every time.
POCKET FULL OF BLEACH
"I first found out about bleach about two years ago from these people that would
shoot up at a vacant house. We would all go there, and everybody would just do a
bit of everything. In one corner they would shoot up, and in another they would
be smoking. When they started talking about bleaching outfits, it wasn't
shocking or anything, because people use bleach to disinfect a lot of things. So
it kinda made sense when I thought about it. In fact, it's a wise decision."
Champ has been slamming coke on and off for about four years. Most of the people
he uses with he's known for a while. "Just because I know the guy I'm sharing
with doesn't mean I can trust him with my life. He may have HIV, and I sure
wouldn't know it by looking at him. I know a lot of people who have died from
using needles behind other people. One thing that I've learned is that you can't
tell by looking who's got the AIDS virus." Champ plans on protecting himself
from AIDS by bleaching his outfit every time. "Bleaching is a regular habit. I
have my bottle of rinse water, my bottle of bleach, and my dope in my pocket.
I'm always prepared for whatever comes my way."