Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. If you're reading this in the US or another Western country, then it's likely that AIDS and HIV aren't really on your radar anymore. The current medication cocktails have made HIV a condition someone can often live with for years, though their quality of life may be effected. HIV may not seem like the immediate death sentence it once did.

But if you're in Africa or South America or if you're poor or if you or someone you love has HIV then you know that this disease is still a significant and terrible threat. You don't have to be gay, black, white, promiscuous, a drug user or somehow irresponsible to get HIV. Anyone can contract it. You may already know someone who has HIV. I could have it. You could. You don't know unless you get tested. You won't know unless you ask, unless you hear and tell stories.

When I first heard about AIDS I thought That's it, we're all dead. A fatal sexually transmitted disease seemed like the end of humanity. Now I recognize it's far more complex. Among other things it's a call to action.

Act with compassion for all people; this illness inspires prejudice, but it can and does effect anyone. It gives us the opportunity to be our most compassionate selves.

Act with determination; by educating ourselves and others, by funding and supporting new research we can come closer to beating it. Along the way we learn more about ourselves, our bodies and how to live with each other.

Act. Don't be a passive, silent witness to your own life. While you are alive, live so you make the world better for all, whether that means wearing a ribbon, so this disease isn't allowed to become something only "they" get or do something else to connect with the world.

(c)2009 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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