Chris Bell on living with AIDS and teaching about HIV/AIDS in Disability Studies

 Close-up photo of Chris Bell from the shoulders up.  He is wearing a midnight blue t-shirt, rectangular glasses, silver hoop earrings, and has a thin moustache/goatee.  There are books on the shelves of bookcases in the background.

“This is not a death sentence”

by Rebekah Jones

When Chris Bell found out he was HIV-positive, he went home, sat down and watched “Law and Order.”  He didn’t cry or lash out at his partner who infected him, he said. He watched television and started his homework.  “I had papers to grade,” said Bell, a post-doctorate research fellow and soon-to-be professor at Syracuse University.  Eleven years after his diagnosis, at 6-foot-2 and 135 pounds, Bell’s emaciated figure proves how the infection plagues his body. His medicine makes him tired and sick, and he keeps losing weight.

Bell isn’t doing well health wise, but he’s pushing forward. He’s learned too much in his 34 years of living to just quit – giving up isn’t in him, he said.  “This is not a death sentence; we’re all dying,” Bell said. “Nothing has changed but my level of awareness.”  While the virus overwhelms his body, Bell continues to focus on what’s important to him: being an activist and an educator.

Bell’s first class as a professor at SU, CFE 600 (Disability, AIDS & U.S. Culture) starting Spring 2009, will be the only class at SU focused specifically on HIV and disability studies in American culture. His class will examine, critique and aim to redefine the way people think about disabled persons and HIV/AIDS patients.  Read the entire story here: http://media.www.dailyorange.com/media/storage/paper522/news/2008/11/12/Feature/this-Is.Not.A.Death.Sentence-3538354.shtml

Acknowledgement to Beth Haller at Media dis and dat

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2 thoughts on “Chris Bell on living with AIDS and teaching about HIV/AIDS in Disability Studies

  1. I was fortunate enough to become friends with Jim Batson, who died of AIDS in 1993. Here is a moving and powerful essay he wrote about living with AIDS that was printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I posted it on my blog so that others could continue to benefit from his wisdom.

    http://bolstablog.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/2278/

    Peace to all,

    Phil Bolsta
    bolstablog.com
    Author of “Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything” (www.sixtysecondsbook.com)

  2. Pingback: Take 5 (from the Vault) « What Sorts of People

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