In 2006, William “Reds” Brawner admitted in an Essence Magazine that he has been living with AIDS for his entire life. It sent shock waves throughout the campus, and shocked his roommate and close friend Mike Brown.
“I didn’t know that Reds had a female guest in his room when another girl showed up unannounced,” says Brown, who was left to answer the door. “Will liked the girls and the girls liked Will.”
Brawner did not tell many about his illness because for the majority of his life, it was a secret to himself. When she was still pregnant with him, doctors gave Linda Brawner a blood transfusion. The person who donated blood died from AIDS, and William Brawner had AIDS since the day he was born.
Williams Brawner’s life has been chronicled in a documentary called “25 to Life”, and Brawner has become an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness. Ironically, Brawner was advocating AIDS awareness while not knowing his own status.
Brawner’s story is amazing, and serves as a testament as to why it is so important that African American men know their status and learn more about the deadly disease that is plaguing our community.
For more information about the documentary and William Brawner, read more at Loop21.com.