Think RED: Today is World AIDS Day
It must have been the drugs I've been taking because I usually keep pretty "up" on these things. But somehow I was confused and thought that December 10th was World AIDS Day and so it never occurred to me to write my post for the blog exchange, whose topic was either Red or Green, and use RED as my prompt - instead I chose GREEN and I'm happy with that because it was an environmental piece and it turned out pretty good - but I can't go the entire day without recognizing something as important as this.
So take a moment to remember the more than 5,000 people who will die today in Africa because of the AIDS virus. Be shocked and infuriated, as I was, when you learn that more than 43,000 people are infected annually with the HIV virus and that the majority of that population are between 18 and 24 years of age. And in this age of amazing medical advancements and technology, in this age when we believe information to be the key - know that 24.2 million people have been infected with HIV since the turn of the millennium and during that same time period 15.6 million people have died from AIDS related illnesses.
And according to the UK's The Independent, "If the world continues on its present course, Aids is set to surpass the Black Death of the 14th century as the deadliest outbreak of disease in human history."
It seems obvious to me that so much more needs to be done - education, research, money for medications that can be donated to those who can't afford to purchase them - what started out as a disease perceived to be a plague of the gay community alone has turned into a disease that knows no gender or sexual preference, but of economic class.
When homosexuals saw their friends suffering and dying before their eyes, they took action. They learned about the disease and they taught their community how to protect themselves. Today, the majority of AIDS patients are those who don't have access to education and those who can't afford to buy the medicines they need to survive. Just look at the epidemic in Africa and you will see what happens when you are poor and black - the world tends to forget about you.
Let's start remembering . . . everyday . . .