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Author Topic: " She put human faces on AIDS..."  (Read 1369 times)

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Offline J.R.E.

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  • Joined Dec-2003 Living positive, since 1985.
" She put human faces on AIDS..."
« on: April 06, 2011, 07:32:20 AM »
Maureen Jeaneen Kennedy Ph.D.

KENNEDY, Maureen Jeaneen, PHD. 54, of New Port Richey, died March 29. She was survived by her mother, Theresa; sister, Theresa (Richard) Wright. Dobies F.H. 7 Tarpon Springs

The following article, appeared in Tuesday's St. Petersburg times.

The hospice workers art project provided a different perspective....


NEW PORT RICHEY In the 1980s, most people believed a diagnosis of HIV would inevitably lead to AIDS at the time, the equivalent of a death sentence.

The public feared the disease. Some declared that AIDS was God's justice to homosexuals and IV-drug users.

Maureen Kennedy, an AIDS care coordinator from HPH Hospice, had a different message to share. AIDS was a human disease, she said contracted by infants in the womb, unsuspecting spouses and, yes, drug users.

Most important, she said with an artist's hands and her therapeutic touch, they were people.

To spread that message, Ms. Kennedy made masks of AIDS patients' faces. She put a gummy substance over a patient's face, then peeled it off. She then held in her hands a lifelike facsimile of the person's face.

To soothing music, she finished the mask in her kitchen. She pulled these masks together in the late 1990s in a daring exhibit. She called it The Face of AIDS.

Ms. Kennedy died at home March 29 of a respiratory disorder. She was 54. She left HPH Hospice (formerly known as Hernando-Pasco Hospice) several years ago after a car accident left her with serious injuries.

The Face of AIDS traveled to high schools. Teenagers walked inside black partitions where they faced masks that once covered someone who had breath in their lungs. Visitors pushed a button beside each mask to hear a message the patient had recorded.

As the teens listened on headphones, chatter turned to whispers and whispers sometimes to tears. Some wrote messages on a wall of grief about people they knew who had died of AIDS.

The exhibit went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Inspired by the pile of shoes from Holocaust victims, Mrs. Kennedy made her own a 4-foot-tall pile capped by a little girl's tiny pink shoes.

"To Maureen, the disease had a face," said HPH spokeswoman Robin Kocher. "She wanted to put a face on the disease and make it personal for those who toured the exhibit. Through her talent, she communicated to others that people with HIV and AIDS are just like them. She gave people the ability to touch the face of someone with AIDS, to get close to them through the stories they heard."

After several years, funding for Ms. Kennedy's AIDS program ran dry. Public perception of a lessened danger may have had something to do with that.

Pharmaceutical interventions a combination of anti-AIDS drugs euphemistically called "the cocktail" have prolonged lives dramatically since the 1980s. But it should not be seen as a panacea, Kocher warned.

"I think most of us think, 'Okay, I'm going to get the cocktail and I'm going to be fine,' " she said. "But as the disease progresses, you have to adjust that in order to continue to try to maintain your health and your lifestyle. And as you do that, it does have an adverse effect and there are side effects that you have to deal with."

About 60 percent of Ms. Kennedy's sculpted AIDS masks have made their way back to owners or family members.

The rest are lying in storage.

Current Meds ; Viramune, Epzicom, 20mg of Atorvastatin, 25 mg of Hydrochlorothiazide.
Amlodipine Besolate 5mg-- Updated 9/24/2017

Diagnosed positive in 1985,.. In October of 2003, My t-cell count was 16, Viral load was over 500,000, Percentage at that time was 5%. I started on  HAART on October 24th, 2003.

 As of 9/18/2017,  Viral load remains <40
CD 4 @358 /  CD4 % @ 13

 65 years young.

Offline BT65

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Re: " She put human faces on AIDS..."
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2011, 07:37:05 AM »
What a wonderful project for someone to take up.  I wish I could experience that.  Thanks for posting this, Ray.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

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