Joe Feagans is 66, the grandfather of 11, and lives in rural Illinois. He's teaching by example that AIDS isn't confined to people to the big-city drug-and-sex culture.
Feagans contracted the deadly virus from a blood transfusion five years ago. And instead of hiding his condition, he is taking lessons about his disease into classrooms.Feagans spoke to junior high and high school classes in nearby Petersburg twice last year and has talked with local civic organizations and health workers. He plans to do more.
"I've found that these kids can associate with me pretty well," Fea-gans said. "And it's been good therapy for me."
Feagans mostly explains to students how easy it is to get AIDS.
"I talk about the `AIDS Family Tree' - that when you go to bed with someone . . . you just went to bed with everybody they've gone to bed with," he said.
Feagans said his wife, Opal, and their eight children have been supportive, as has Tallula, population 643.
"Only one person that I know of called the health department and asked if it was safe to be around me."