Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Welcome Back

A recent article, in Newsweek, states that activism for AIDS is returning. Something that I have been wondering about for some time.

I have always been a supporter of the movement, but in recent years I was quite dismayed that so few people were seemingly concerned or active in doing things about awareness etc.

I was most surprised, when teaching, at how little correct information kids seemed to have. Both high school and middle school students still carried around such outdated ideas about HIV/Aids and all related issues. So I had activists and speakers come in to school and do presentations. I personally continued to make donations, wore tee shirts and ribbons and bracelets to keep myself visible. I have looked for local groups, but there are none around here. Sadly, one would have to go to Cleveland to find the nearest activist group. Even on a college campus the cause has lost momentum.

"In my early days as a board member and earlier, there was a great deal of concern, worry, angst about HIV that has settled into this kind of benign complacency," says Marjorie J. Hill, CEO for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Many people, she says, thinks AIDS can be treated with a pill, and that living with the disease is now similar to living with diabetes or heart disease.

Of course, HIV/AIDS is not nearly under control: it affects 33 million people worldwide, and in America, it's the No. 1 killer for women under 35, according to the MAC AIDS fund. The Centers for Disease Control reports that new infections have not declined in the past decade, and while people under 30 are at the greatest risk, so are those in their 50s and 60s. As patients living with HIV/AIDS get older, more potential side effects of the drug cocktails become apparent, including premature aging and dementia. And while many people think AIDS as a medical condition is no big deal, people are still afraid to confront it. "The stigma against people with HIV is still so strong," says Hofmann, who notes that fear of social consequences has kept many patients silent. '

How can it be the number one killer of women under 35 and people are just not that interested anymore? Especially when it is just not a "gay disease" any more! Like they say, the stigma is still quite strong, and people do not want to talk about or be associated with it.

Not only was I personally involved with someone who died from AIDS complications, but my brother-in-law had been the first person in Northeast Ohio diagnosed back when it first came out as a named disease and he was an active motivator in and with issues involving HIV/AIDS for many, many years. Sadly it did not kill him. Asthma did.

Even though I have many conflicting feelings towards my employer I am at least happy to say that they do make donations, like yesterday fro World AIDS Day, they donated 5 cents from EVERY hand crafted beverage sold. We sell mugs and coffee for the cause.

There are many other places, such as the GAP, who sells tee shirts, there are others who have bracelets that will make donations from their purchase. There are those still involved and still caring.

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