He has HIV/AIDS and he is still positive listen03/31/12 Andrea Lypka
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
When someone is diagnosed with a debilitating disease, it can be difficult to keep up spirits. Last week HIV educator Scott Fried shared his message of sexual safety, responsibility, and self-esteem at the University of South Florida.
In 1987, when 24 year-old Scott Fried contracted the HIV virus, it was considered a death sentence. Since then, he has lost 131 of his friends to AIDS.
“I wasn't raped, I wasn't coerced, I wasn't drugged, rufied, pinned down,” Fried said to a group of USF students. “I wasn't even drunk. I went willingly. And so many of you know exactly what I am talking about. You just soberly say to yourselves - we say to ourselves: 'I will be safer next time.'”
When as a college student, Fried was harassed and bullied, he learned to keep his secrets to himself.
“I didn’t know in 1987 that I was enough because I wasn't tall enough, right? And I wasn't masculine enough and muscular enough, and close enough to God, and heterosexual enough, absolutely not. I wasn't enough. I thought I didn't belong. Because I had to be what you, what the world, said I had to be in order to be enough. So I knocked on his door, he opened it and said, 'hey partner,' which I hated,” he said.
He said that since being tested positive for HIV, he has tried to educate people to accept their emotions.
“I couldn't sit with my pain so I got laid. ... I want to offer you a weapon that works better. ... Sitting in the dark with your favorite song on repeat on your iPod,” Fried said.
Gillaine Ortiz, a freshman in biology at USF attended the lecture to learn more about the sexually transmitted disease.
“I have friends that have been with partners and have had unprotected sex many times. She is here today actually. I am in hopes that this may have educated her in any way. I can also relate to him in the emptiness and in the filling that void with others,” Ortiz said.
Education student Shilah Carroll said one of her friends passed away from AIDS.
“Having unprotected sex or drugs or any of the matters to transmit AIDS is nothing that should be played around with because it is your life and someone else's life in your hand and their hands and it is a serious issue,” Carroll said.
Erica Freedland, a criminology and technical writing student at USF heard Fried's lecture at a leadership seminar in California last year.
“These are just things that can relate to anyone. You can put what he says in any space of life whether it relates to cuts or unprotected sex, it relates to anyone,” she said.
To learn about more about Fried’s tips for self-esteem and responsibility, visit scottfried.com.