I’ve really been going back and forth in my mind about whether or not I should write a post on this topic, but I couldn’t seem to shake this so I decided to write. I’m not even sure where to begin…
Last week I was having a casual conversation with an acquaintance, we speak often, but usually the conversation is just meaningless banter and superficial small talk. As of lately, he has been complaining about being dizzy because of the medicine that he’s been taking.
During our last conversation he joked that he just fell up the stairs in front of a bunch of random people. We shared a laugh, and then he added in a whisper, “Yeah, its’s because of the medicine for my HIV.”
I’m pretty sure what I heard was: “Yeah, its’s because of the medicine for my HIV,” but I still asked for him to repeat himself just to make sure… he did, and once again he said: “Its’s because of the medicine for my HIV.”
I froze temporarily, and all I could manage to say was “awwww.” So many different thoughts went through my mind; I realized that even with all these HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns all around, I knew NOTHING about it. I had so many questions, but I did not want to offend by my ignorance.
I decided to ask my questions anyway and luckily he was very forthcoming and open. We spoke for about 15 minutes and he told me, among other things, that he found out a year ago that he was HIV positive. Towards the end of the conversation he chuckled and said with a smile,
“See, I don’t look like I’m dying, do I?”
And the truth of the matter is, he doesn’t. He looks like how a man in his early twenties should look. He’s very well dressed, well-spoken, educated and attractive.
I think people assume that HIV could never happen to them but HIV and AIDS isn’t discriminatory. HIV doesn’t care if you’re black or white, young or old, or about your sexual orientation.
Collectively, we must educate ourselves in order to stop the spread of this virus and to save lives. We must educate ourselves in order not to alienate those among us who are living with the virus. The face of HIV could be anyone.
Startling statistics include:
- Men who have sex with men still represent the largest group of people living with AIDS in Atlanta at 51%.
- Sixteen percent of AIDS cases result from injection drug use, and the proportion of AIDS in women has grown from 4% to 19% since 1987.
- While African Americans make up 29% of Georgia’s population, they represent 77% of new AIDS cases in Georgia and 63% of all existing AIDS cases in Atlanta were among this group.
- African-American women account for 87% of all women with AIDS in Atlanta.
- 50% of new HIV infections are occurring in youth 16-24 years old.
For More information: http://www.aidatlanta.org/page.aspx?pid=295
Those stats are startling, but they’re real. AIDS and HIV in Atlanta is real. Education, protection and prevention are the only way…