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Speaker warns students of AIDS risks

Nov. 2, 1999

Former actress asks all to stay abstinent until after they marry



Premarital sex can damage your heart and soul and even take your life, La Gena Greene told a Chapel-Forum audience Monday. Greene's speech marked Baylor's observance of National AIDS awareness week.

Greene's husband, Danny Greene, spoke to the audience about his wife's life before contracting HIV.

'Her story is a journey of goals that went from despair and discouragement to redemption and then hope,' he said.

Before contracting HIV, Greene was a promising model and film actress. She had appeared in Glamour, Seventeen and Cosmopolitan, as well as in 25 television shows and five feature films.

In 1987 Greene, separated from then boyfriend Danny Greene, moved from Hollywood back to North Carolina. She then became reacquainted with a friend of six years, who later asked her to marry him.

'He said all the right things,' she said.

After she agreed to his proposal he disappeared and left without any information. Soon after, Greene received a phone call.

'I got a call saying he was in the hospital dying of AIDS,' Greene said.

She was advised by a friend to take an HIV test after hearing the information about her fiancée and was happy to receive negative results.

'At the time, no one knew about the window period,' Greene said.

Another HIV test, months later, came back positive. Greene was infected with HIV.

'I had no idea how I was going to live with this disease,' she said.

In 1990, after reconciliation with Danny Greene, they were married. Then, in 1995, Greene finally went public with her HIV.

Within three years she had full-blown AIDS. Today, 13 years after contracting the virus, Greene takes 35 pills each day. She has fought three battles with pneumonia and on July 4 received a blood transfusion for a low platelet count.

'I truly believe God is keeping me alive,' she said.

Greene asked that students stay abstinent until they are married because 'it is the only choice.'

'I don't want you to make the same mistake . . . if you've had sex even one time, I encourage you to be tested,' she said.

Engaging in pre-marital sex causes other problems besides AIDS.

'A condom won't protect your heart or your soul . . . you don't want to give part of your soul to someone that God doesn't want you to marry,' Greene said.

Greene told the audience that she didn't have the opportunity to hear the facts about AIDS that are available now, and she encouraged students to be careful.

'I wish I could be sitting where you are, able to do it all over again,' she said.