Anna, age 65 / Maryland, USA


Initially, a lot of responses were: are you angry? You know, even my grandson expressed that he was mad. But I wasn’t. I had to accept my own responsibility. Listen, I could have said no. I could’ve closed my legs. I didn’t. So, I wasn’t ever angry with him. I had to be angry with myself if I was going to be angry with anyone.

I had to take responsibility. I taught my son: ‘Wrap it up!’ When he was thirteen, I told him there is stuff out here that you will never be able to use that thing again, if you don’t protect yourself. That is literally what I said to him, and I said it to all of his friends because my house always full of boys, you know, so I would tell all the boys: ‘Wear the condoms!’

Then didn’t take my own advice.  My generation used condoms as a means of contraceptive, not to prevent disease. We didn’t consider that there were diseases that could literally kill you that you could get by not protecting yourself. So, you know, now I know better. I was just uneducated.

People just don’t know. They think it’s gone. They think it’s a gay disease. They think it’s a drug user’s disease. I think the only way it will ever go away is by educating, people speaking out, making it a media noise. And I think that’s the only cure.