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Community Supports Mother With AIDS

October 28, 1992

LODGEPOLE, Neb. (AP) _ A Nebraska village is lending its support to a 41-year-old mother of three who was diagnosed as having AIDS.

About 200 people, more than half the population of Lodgepole, attended a community meeting Monday for Debbie Bond, who decided to go public because she thought she could educate her community.

″I decided to tell everyone I have AIDS because I want to make a difference,″ Mrs. Bond said at a news conference Tuesday. ″These are my friends and neighbors. ... I care about them.″

Lodgepole, home to 368 people, is situated 10 miles from the Colorado line.

Mrs. Bond, a farm wife, contracted the disease through a blood transfusion 10 years ago at a hospital in Denver. She suffered from constant fatigue the last few years. She found out in July that she had AIDS.

″As long as we are silent, Nebraskans will continue to believe that it can’t happen to us. The time to educate ourselves and our children is now,″ Mrs. Bond said.

The secrecy, the stigma and the financial burden left her in a state of shock, she said.

She and her husband, Ralph, told their children - Bryan 18, Kristie, 13, and Robin, 10, ″as soon as we could control our feelings.″

Her husband and children have tested negative.

At the community meeting, two psychologists and a community health nurse joined Mrs. Bond to answer questions.

Mrs. Bond also addressed a Lodgepole School assembly, which Superintendent of Schools Sam Bell called ″a special education opportunity.″

Cards were handed out to students to write questions.

″Most of the questions were about how to offer support to the Bonds,″ said Dr. Patty Vigil, one of the psychologists.

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