NEEDCOM:
 
Do you remember a guy who used to sit on this corner ... he was a white guy, he had a sign that said he was HIV positive?
 
 
ROBERT S:
 
Yeah, yeah.
 
 
NEEDCOM:
 
Do you remember what happened to him?
 
 
ROBERT S:
 
Yeah, they run him away cause he wasn't HIV-positive. You have lots of dope fiends around here, and all kinds of people sitting around.
 
 
NEEDCOM:
 
So he wasn't telling the truth?
 
 
ROBERT S:
 
See, I don't have no sign. HIV positive is not your concern or my concern. I don't mean, like no concern, not caring about a person. I mean, like you didn't give it to him. I didn't give it to him.
 
Didn't nobody have to know what happened to me. Course, I couldn't help it, but it happened. So therefore, I'm not crying about that, so he shouldn't cry about HIV positive. He should be trying to do something to help himself, like I'm doing.
 
 
NEEDCOM:
 
I think he was just trying to let people know why he was asking for help.
 
 
ROBERT S:
 
But they got other places for help.
 
 
NEEDCOM:
 
It's not always easy to get in hospitals or treatment programs—
 
 
ROBERT S:
 
Okay, you say that but, but ... I'd rather have a man out there that's panhandling, that's asking for something. I'm hurt, and worse than him, and I ain't asking for nothing.
 
..........

 
NEEDCOM:
 
Do people give more to a person who has, or says they have a serious illness?
 
 
GARY:
 
They may be doing worse now, because there's been a lot of people out there saying they have AIDS and they're dying of AIDS, people are getting tired of hearing that.
 
 
NEEDCOM:
 
So it's gone out of style?
 
 
GARY:
 
Right.
 
 
..........

 
NEEDCOM:
 
How does a panhandler who has, or says they have, a serious illness do?
 
 
EASY:
 
You know what—that's pity, man. That AIDS shit, man, that's playing with my emotions. I don't know, but I don't like that.
 


 
Do you give to the ill or handicapped?

 
Drugs

Papers



Between the two, who would get your spare change?
"Catherine", a woman"William", a man

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All content copyright 1999, Cathy Davies.
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