This heartbreaking Instagram story reveals the reality of AIDS in modern America

19-year-old Mason died of AIDS in 2016.

19-year-old Mason died of AIDS in 2016. Family photo/Instagram

The AIDS Memorial is a curated Instagram account, featuring heartbreaking stories of those lost due to HIV and AIDS. Thousands of posts reveal the faces of those lost to the virus, as shared by friends and families.

On Monday, a new post went up, revealing that AIDS is not a thing of the past. The pair of photos posted and the accompanying story told the story of Mason, a 19-year-old, as told by his mother, Amy Christine.

The pictures show Mason as a teen, before he began to really show any signs of illness, then one of him bedridden and in the hospital as his mother reads a Harry Potter book to him.

This is what Mason’s mother posted alongside the photos:

“My son Mason was 19 years old when he was diagnosed with AIDS and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), His ID DR was able to determine that he probably contracted HIV around the age of 14. Mason later admitted that he knew when — he had met an older man online.”

“Mason later told his Grandma that he always felt like he had the flu but he never complained. That was Mason… sweet, kind, a pleaser. His friends told me that he was always there to cheer them up, the life of the party. He had a contagious laugh and the most beautiful blue eyes. He had a glimmer in his eyes like he knew something the rest of us didn’t. He was smart and funny. He helped his Great-Grandparents with their groceries, mail, and garbage. I remember my little boy with the nicest hands to hold, always a little sweaty.”

“Mason was hospitalized for the last time on February 9, 2016 after he had moved to Las Vegas. He had been there less than a year, hadn’t seen a doctor, and stopped all medication. His CD4 count was 3, he had three different types of pneumonia, his body was covered with Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions.”

“It was later discovered that the lesions had moved into Mason’s tracheobronchial tree and stomach, he was dependent upon life support. He had lost the use of his legs from PML and was slowly losing the use of his arms. He weighed 80 lbs.”

“Mason fought until March 20, 2016. The nurses said he was tenacious. He never complained. Needle stick, after needle stick. Surgery, after surgery. Spending days without visitors because his dad and I couldn’t stay the entire time (we live in KY so we flew back and forth). He never complained.”

“Mason passed on March 21, 2016 at 12:35 in Las Vegas as I read him Harry Potter and his Dad read Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

“Mason still has the nicest hands I’ll ever hold.”

Mason’s heartbreaking story has received 7900 likes and, perhaps more importantly, 637 comments.

In this era of PrEP and other practices that help limit the spread of HIV, it’s important to remember that AIDS never went away. Mason’s story should remind us to always stay vigilant.

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🔻 . “My son Mason was 19 years old when he was diagnosed with AIDS and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). His ID DR was able to determine that he probably contracted HIV around the age of 14. Mason later admitted that he knew when —he had met an older man online. . Mason later told his Grandma that he always felt like he had the flu but he never complained. That was Mason . . . sweet, kind, a pleaser. His friends told me that he was always there to cheer them up, the life of the party. He had a contagious laugh and the most beautiful blue eyes. He had a glimmer in his eyes like he knew something the rest of us didn't. He was smart and funny. He helped his Great-Grandparents with their groceries, mail, and garbage. I remember my little boy with the nicest hands to hold, always a little sweaty. . Mason was hospitalized for the last time on February 9, 2016 after he had moved to Las Vegas. He had been there less than a year, hadn't seen a doctor, and stopped all medication. His CD4 count was 3, he had three different types of pneumonia, his body was covered with Kaposi's sarcoma lesions. . It was later discovered that the lesions had moved into Mason’s tracheobronchial tree and stomach, he was dependent upon life support. He had lost the use of his legs from PML and was slowly losing the use of his arms. He weighed 80 lbs. . Mason fought until March 20, 2016. The nurses said he was tenacious. He never complained. Needle stick, after needle stick. Surgery, after surgery. Spending days without visitors because his dad and I couldn't stay the entire time (we live in KY so we flew back and forth). He never complained. . Mason passed on March 21, 2016 at 12:35 in Las Vegas as I read him Harry Potter and his Dad read Twas the Night Before Christmas. . Mason still has the nicest hands I'll ever hold.” — by Amy Christine @amyz72 . #whatisrememberedlives #theaidsmemorial #aidsmemorial #endaids #neverforget

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