Person of the Week: AIDS Activist Brryan Jackson, Injected by Father With HIV, Is Beating the Odds

PHOTO Bryyan Jackson AIDs Activist
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Brryan Jackson is a big brother who knows how to make his siblings smile, with his ability to turn a simple car ride to school into an all out air guitar jam session.

Brryan, 19, plays real music too in his hometown of St. Charles, Mo. Listening to him play his guitar, it's hard to believe that he lost his hearing when he was seven years old.

"Just because I can't hear does not mean I don't have a voice," Jackson said. "God has blessed me to have such a strong voice, to have a story."

Brryan's story seems unbelievable. In 1992, when Brryan was just 11 months old, his father, a hospital worker, injected him with HIV-tainted blood. Brryan's father hoped his young son would die so he would be able to avoid paying child support.

Brryan lived. By five, he'd developed full blown AIDS and the crime was discovered.

"I went from being a playful, happy, energetic five-year-old to this bloated, feverish sick kid," Brryan said.

A jury sentenced his father to life in prison. While his father got a life sentence, young Brryan received a death sentence. Doctors told his family that he had just months to live.

I "would've never dreamed that his life would be like this. When doctors tell you make funeral arrangements, you don't think beyond the next day or at least the next week," Jennifer Jackson, Brryan's mother, said.

Going To School With AIDS

The next week has turned into years. So far, Brryan has beaten the odds but it hasn't been without road bumps.

Growing up, Brryan described how misinformation about his disease sometimes bred cruelty in the classroom.

"You can't drink from the water fountain, he has to bring his own water bottle ... you can only use one restroom and just different other things. I mean, I was left out of birthday parties," he said.

Brryan's mother said that her son didn't experience the typical benchmarks of a young boy's life like joining the Boy Scouts and participating on sports teams because of people's fears about the disease.

Jackson and her four other children banded together to support Brryan.

"It [AIDS] didn't just affect me, it also affected my entire family. They had to sacrifice a lot, like living in poverty so I could have access to AIDS medication," Brryan said of his family.

Those experiences prompted Brryan to turn his life into a mission to spread awareness about the disease.

He now spends every summer at Camp Kindle, a program that sponsors summer camps throughout the nation for HIV positive children.

Brryan Spreads Awareness About HIV/AIDS

At the camp, Brryan mentors other HIV positive kids and he shares his story often.

"You can either look at the blessings that come from life, you know, look at all the problems as opportunities for blessings or you can just ignore them and let them run you and let them control your life. I just decided, I want to put an end to this, I want to make a difference," he said.

When ABC news met Brryan, he was planning a speech to give to his college classmates at St. Charles Community College.

"This isn't just my problem, this is everybody's problem. It's going on in their world, around them," he said of his classmates.

Brryan's best friend, Thom Loeffer, has known the young activist since high school. He said that Brryan's bravery inspires him.

"The disease really does not bother him. He just goes on without it and there are so many people that don't do that. They sit at home and they're afraid to tell people about this," Loeffer said.

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