September 8, 2018
Written by Mark S. King
A friend of mine, Antron-Reshaud Olukayode, died of an AIDS-related illness a few months ago. He was an Atlanta-based writer and HIV advocate. The news was quite a shock for me because an empowered person living with HIV isn’t supposed to die at age 33. Or so I believed.
During Antron’s last hospital stay, his friend Nina Martinez brought him food and comfort. “Antron was having trouble getting on his feet. Something was hurting,” she tells me during a conversation in which she doubted her choice to be open about the details, to tell the truth of it. “And then Antron pulled down his sock and showed me a black lesion on the bottom of his foot.”
Nina immediately recognized the spot as Kaposi’s sarcoma, known as KS, an often deadly AIDS-defining cancer. You can regularly see it on the faces and bodies of people with AIDS in old photos and documentaries. People think it doesn’t happen anymore. They’re wrong.