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Boy With AIDS Goes to Head of Class

June 2, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Ryan White, a 16-year-old Indiana boy with AIDS, went to the head of the class - to answer fifth-graders’ questions about the deadly disease.

Wednesday’s question-and-answer session at P.S. 87 in Manhattan was recorded for a television special on AIDS to be broadcast this fall on the Children’s Television Workshop program ″3-2-1 Contact.″

White, a hemophiliac who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion, assured students, ″You can’t get AIDS from sitting next to someone with AIDS ... or using the same bathroom or kissing someone.″

Asked about reaction to his disease - the White family was ostracized, their car tires slashed, their house pelted with eggs - he said: ″It hurt but I tried to ignore the name-calling and stuff like that. ... I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.″

Students said they profited from the session. ″At first I thought I could get AIDS from just touching someone,″ said Jessalyn Sanchez. ″Now I know you don’t.″

Added Stephanie Pitsirilos: ″I’ll remember that even if someone has AIDS, you can’t judge him.″

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