Run don’t walk…
Published Thursday, 23-Sep-2010 in issue 1187
Like most things that weigh heavily in our community and lives, from our civil rights and freedoms to our many other struggles, HIV has been at the forefront. HIV infection and reduction and making those who are HIV positive or living with AIDS more comfortable and fulfilled has been a huge priority for all of us. For those of us who have lost someone to this disease it is much more personal and AIDS Walk and other related events are a way to remember and show our commitment to those we loved. For others who know someone who is living with HIV or AIDS it is an opportunity to do something about it and show love and support for our brothers and sisters. For everyone it is a way to show support, tolerance and compassion.
Whatever the motivation or experience that drives us to AIDS Walk, we all share one thing in common. We have been affected by HIV/AIDS. We all try to come together to create a greater community, one that lends a hand and helps those in need, creating a healthier and stronger community and culture.
At times it seems like it has been a tremendously long struggle, and while we have come a very long way as GLBT people we are still without our basic rights and still have no cure for AIDS. It is hard not to question why that is and why we keep being told to wait for a cure. It’s coming, they say, it’s coming, just like our basic rights! Well, quite frankly most of us are fed up waiting.
We have always been a community that has risen up and worked with whatever we had, usually provided by our own people. In years past when those who were dying and sick needed anything our country gave little, dubbing it the gay cancer. So we provided to our own and started grass roots organizations to fill the gaps and at the time basic needs of those living and dying with AIDS. That speaks volumes about our culture and community. We were not accepted. We had really no help in dealing with all the issues of living with AIDS, treating it or coming to terms with watching thousands of friends die of the disease.
For those who lived through those years and helped others they were the real heroes. The heroes who acted with love, courage and strength, choosing to disregard all fears and selfishness to guide us through a dark time in our history. Our young people, thanks to the courage that past generations have shown, have not experienced this genocide that plagued our community and robbed so many of their lives.
There is light at the end of the tunnel and thankfully through time and amazing community organizations, volunteers, doctors, researchers and education we have caught a glimpse of it. People with HIV under proper care are living fuller longer lives. The stigma attached to HIV/AIDS is not nearly what it used to be. People have come around to the idea that everyone is affected by HIV/AIDS, no matter whether straight, gay, lesbian, children, those of color, a celebrity or blue collar worker. Not one of us is immune. It can happen to anyone who has sex and that is the bottom line, HIV/AIDS does not discriminate.
Prevention is always the best treatment and condoms are a must for everybody along with disclosure, regular testing, education and most of all compassion, tolerance and understanding.
There is nothing anyone could do to deserve this disease and apportioning blame or fault is not only cruel but ignorant. We as a community need to stop thinking of HIV/AIDS as a deeply ingrained punishment imposed on us, because we are GLBT and sexual. All humans are sexual by design.
We have come a long way and we have a long way to go before a cure, however, we must demand for ourselves and others that they and we run towards a cure and stop walking. With anti viral drugs prolonging lives and improving the quality of those living with HIV/AIDS it is still very important to understand this virus is devastating to those it affects and it is still fatal. For the younger generation who has not seen first hand these affects or buried friends that were gone way before their time, it is critical that they do not become complacent.
So let’s do everything we can to help find a cure. Let’s all of us be open and help destigmatize the disease, and let’s start by attending this Sunday’s AIDS Walk. AIDS Walk San Diego does much more than simply raise much needed funds, it brings our community together. After twenty one years AIDS Walk shows our deep commitment and the commitment of the San Diego community to empower, inspire and show support for our neighbors, friends, family and every single person who is trying to combat and cure this disease.
AIDS Walk San Diego has raised an impressive $8 million since its beginning in 1989. Let’s give a huge thank you to all the volunteers, participants and to AIDS Walk San Diego who make this event so successful year after year. So please come and show your support and in the search for a cure run, don’t walk.