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40Ways To Fight the Fight Against AIDS

Joan Parker brought Marc Sawyer and me together. I was telling her that I wanted to do an interesting pro bono project to get through the doldrums of winter 94. "Talk to Marc," she said. Marc had already set up The Living With....Group and had designed and published, "40 Ways....." " It would be wild," he said, " to illustrate the 40 Ways with photographs."

Didactic portraiture. How would it fit in with my style of portraiture? Could a photograph illustrate an idea and try to convince someone to do something and still be a portrait? Was this going to be advertising photography or portraiture? Was there an inevitable gulf between the two?

I called my friend and neighbor, David Meyers, a professional cleaner extraordinaire who does volunteer cleaning and asked him to help me work through this puzzle. Would he pose for number 25 "Help Clean House"?? The next afternoon, he came to the studio with all his favorite brushes, mops, and soaps. We got into it. The intellectual and esthetic issues which are very challenging when discussed over coffee didn't intrude in the studio. Taking the photograph of David with the legendary Polaroid 20x24 was fun and it was a portrait.

I could imagine Marc and me trying to find friends and friends of friends to illustrate the list of helping ways. I wasn't plagued by the aesthetic question, was this or was this not portraiture. Marc called Dannie Kelly and Mauricio Munozo at Community Servings. They came with their pots and stacks of prepared meals. One at a time, we made phone calls, found people, and went down the list. (Considering how bad a winter it was and how many times we had to reschedule I can't believe neither of us thought of adding "Shovel the sidewalk" to the list in homage to the weather.)

This list of what we can do to be involved in the fight against AIDS is grounded in the minutiae of daily life. The projects are simple. They can be done in our neighborhoods, even on our own blocks or in our own apartment buildings. And they are a model for how to be involved in the fight for cures of other diseases. Communication. Information. Participation. Political involvement. Fundraising. Friendship. We all know someone who would swoon for a lasagna left on the doorstoop. 40 Ways to Fight AIDS

1. Know the Facts

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2. Dispell The Myths

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"AIDS sounds like such a scary disease. I would be afraid to be in the same room with someone who has it. I might catch it."

3. Talk About It

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4. Be A Buddy

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A Buddy provides one-on-one emotional support and friendship to a person living with AIDS. Contact your local AIDS service organization to volunteer.

5. Be A Group Educator

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Many AIDS service organizations will train you in "AIDS 101" so you can speak informatively to others about HIV and AIDS.

6. Practice Safer Sex

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Learn the facts about safer sex. It is more than just using a condom every time.

7. Be A Condom Dispenser

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Carry condoms with you everywhere and share your supply. Set them out at parties as favors.

7. Help Provide Meals

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Your local meal delivery program needs help with everything from preparation to delivery.

9. Walk the Walk

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Or dance the dance.Sponsor and be sponsored in, pledge-funded events. Most importantly, be active and participate.

10. Bring A Friend

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Worthwhile events are always more fun in groups.

11. Write A Check

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12. Wear A Care Pin

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A symbol of love and concern, the Care Pin raises awareness andmuch needed funds. It says you don't have to infected to be affected.

13. Wear A Red Ribbon

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It's not just a fashion statement. Talk about it.

14. Make A Quilt

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The Names Project can give you complete information about making a quilt panel for the Aids Memorial Quilt.

15. Answer A Hotline

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Hotline volunteers are trained to offer callers support, guidance, information, and referrals to other resources.

16. Apply Your Skills

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Your local AIDS service organization has the need for volunteers with varying types and degrees of experience. Whatever you're best at--use it.

17. Work A Fundraiser

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Lend a hand in everything from set up to clean up.

18. Act Up

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Get political. Make your views known.

19. Write A Letter

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Tell your local, state,and national leaders to do More!

20. Explore The Art Of Giving

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Purchase gifts that donate proceeds to an AIDS support organization. Make a cdonataion in someone's name,and ask to have donations made in place of receiving gifts.

21. Hold A Baby Affected By HIV

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Volunteer time at a local pediatric unit. All children need love and affection.

22. Consider Being Tested

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Early intervention continues to prove to be the best course of action. If you decide to be tested, do so where you have access to pre- and post-test counseling.

23. Don't Be Judgemental

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AIDS doesn't discriminate--neither should we.

24. Help People With AIDS Find Housing

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Talk to landlords and property management firms to help local AIDS assistance organizations identify housing opportunities.

25. Help A Person With AIDS Keep House

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Offer to do laundry, clean, grocery shop, cook -- anything to help.

26. Talk With Your Lover

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Open talk about AIDS between sex partners is especially important.

27. Help Establish A Fair HIV/AIDS Work Policy

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Encourage your employer to develop a fair AIDS policy in your workplace.

28. Care

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Offer childcare services to a family with an HIV-infected member.

29. Care

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Spend time with a person who has AIDS so that his/her primary caregiver can have a break.

30. Make Yourself Handy

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Do maintenance work at your local AIDS support organization. Paint. Change light bulbs. Hang bulletin boards. Etc.

31. Be A Mover

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Offer transportation services to take a person with AIDS to medical and other necessary appointments.

32. Be A Shaker

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Lobby to influence AIDS-related legislature.

33. Be A Protector

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Encourage schools to provide information about HIV and AIDS in health classes.

34. Make A Happy Holiday

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Let people know they are thought of. Make a gift basket for a family you know, bake cookies or send a card to say you car.

35. Have A Fun Raiser

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Organize a dance or a dinner banquet, show a film,sponsor an AIDS awareness workshop...charge admission and donate the money raised.

36. Express Yourself

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make art, write articles, plays, and poems about AIDS. Different messagesspeak to different people.

37. Share These Pages

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Tell your friends about these pages. Share the URL. Put the images on your refrigerator or your bulletin board at work.

38. Say A Prayer

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39. Show Hope

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"He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how." Nietzsche

Think About It. EVERY DAY.

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If you see a picture of yourself on this page, and you do not want it to be here, contact Elsa immediately.