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Tuesday, December 1, 2009
World AIDS Day 2009
Today is December 1st and marks yet another World AIDS Day and I have to ask myself, what have I or anyone else accomplished?
Since December 1st 2005, which marked my first World AIDS Day being diagnosed positive, I have spent the day pondering the future of the fight against HIV/AIDS for myself and the world around me. Speaking from my own experience, the true cure for this disease, that has unfortunately taken record number of lives every day and is still the leading cause of death in most parts of Africa, is outreach, prevention and education. I am hopeful as I continually read more and more articles regarding the advances in medicine and science that both preserve people's lives and looks for a permanent cure.
This year I have gone through so many changes due to my HIV-positive status. What used to be three pills a day is now five pills a day and recently evidence shows that there's a slight possibility of lymphoma. I have also recently found out that a friend has been diagnosed HIV positive. So, today I sit here pondering the reality of the future of people living with HIV/AIDS; is it going to get better; is it ever going to stop?
Men who have sex with men still make up almost half of all those infected every year. This seems outrageous; what has all the fundraising, outreach, prevention and education helped if men who have sex with men are not protecting themselves? As I often say, something's gotta give, but now I will say something's gotta change!
I know I have no right to preach about protecting oneself; after all I knew about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and about protection but didn't do enough about it to remain negative. However; this doesn't mean what I am saying isn't valid. If you are man who is at all sexually active with other men, even with protection, you should be getting tested regularly. Other diseases can be transmitted even without sexual activity that getting tested can detect. Being afraid or in denial can no longer be the answer to the problem, especially if you are a man who has sex with men and women.
I think my message is clear this World AIDS Day. Yes, it's a great day to wear a red ribbon and attend a candlelight vigil or whatever else, but more needs to be done within each person's community and, of course, with each person individually. If you have not been tested; get tested, do it today or make it a goal to do before the year is through.
I swear I wish I would have made better choices in my life and kept myself from having to go through this disease, but I thank God for what I have gone through and the ability to speak up about this issue that concerns us all. You can spend your time telling yourself it will never happen to you, but you should only say that if you are 100% sure it won't. That surety only comes with protection and testing.
I continue to hope and pray for a world without such preventable diseases as HIV/AIDS. Please join me in my prayers that outreach, education, prevention and a cure will be available to all and that more will do what they can to stop the spread of HIV and fight AIDS.
For those interested in more information about HIV/AIDS, World AIDS Day events and HIV testing sites, please follow the links below. Also below are related links and articles about HIV/AIDS.
North Star HIV/AIDS Page
World AIDS Day
National HIV Testing