The Poster Girl Who Was Cut Out of the Picture

Kwame Dawes, a poet and professor at the University of South Carolina, continues his reporting on the HIV/AIDS crisis in Jamaica. For related poetry, photography and video interviews, visit

Last October, I met Annesha again in a brightly lit examination room in the clinic where she had first been diagnosed. She looked me in the eye and explained the dilemma of being young and HIV-positive and wanting to be loved. She knew that no man would marry her unless he was also infected. But she didn't want a husband who was HIV-positive; someone already suffering from the disease could be infected with a more virulent strain. She also knew that she would have a hard time finding a partner who wasn't positive. "The ones who are not positive, they won't walk with me in the public," she said.

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