For most of her childhood, Paige Rawl didn't know she was HIV positive. She just knew she and her mom had to take some yucky medicine everyday. She remembers overhearing a conversation between her mother and doctor and hearing the term HIV. When she got home, she asked her mom, "Am I HIV positive or HIV negative?" Her mom knew it was time to tell her the truth. Paige was born HIV positive. She contracted it from her mother who had contracted it from her father. Her father left them when she was little; they weren't really in contact until just before his death from AIDS.
Paige entered middle school
like any other kid, a little nervous and very
excited. She made friends with another girl,
Yasmine, and they were immediately inseparable.
They just seemed to get each other. So, during
the school's overnight lock-in, as they played
games and enjoyed the fun of staying up all
night, she didn't think twice about bringing up
her HIV status as part of a conversation. Within
minutes another student was telling someone not
to share a drink with her because she had AIDS.
Paige was shocked into silence. Yasmine, who was
supposed to be her closest friend, had breached
her trust and told. News spread fast and from
that moment on, Paige was the target of bullies.
Dubbed PAIDS, ridiculed in person, jeered and
whispered at in the hallways, the subject of
notes and graffiti.
(Heather Nelson, Teen Librarian, Evergreen Teen Book Awards, 2017)
|SUBJECTS: AIDS (Disease) -- Patients -- Biography.
AIDS (Disease) -- Social aspects.
Bullies -- Psychological aspects.
HIV-positive children -- Biography.