It is SO incredibly important that we talk about, and support, Women with HIV/AIDS.
Additionally, it is equally important that we have those hard discussions with our youth. We must tell them like it is. There is a way to get our points across without compromising our values, principles or morals. It is something that we must do to save lives.
The HIV/AIDS community is dear to my heart.
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago during the 80's included a huge participation in the underground party scene. Northside Juice bars were the rage! Then there was Berlin's, Medusa's, Roscoe's, The Closet and Neo's also spinning the "mixes" late into the early morning hours! HOUSE MUSIC had just been born. I was there, flailing my arms, stomping my feet and shaking "it" WAY past curfew.
During this same time I was learning about a new silent killer that was slowly murdering my friends in "Boys Town".
What began as a disease that morbidly attacked the gay/lesbian community, is now what is killing women and children at an alarming rate. Currently Black women and children have the highest mortality numbers in the United States and around the Globe.
I watched many close to me pass away with as much dignity and honor as we could all muster, and heard stories about those who were not so lucky.
HIV/AIDS knows no boundaries. It sets up and kills because it is spread. It is a vicious and horrible lurker that we must eradicate. Educating ourselves and supporting foundations that educate, test, and treat are valuable ways to combat this infection.
Speaking to one another and speaking to our kids saves lives.
Testing is a scary experience, so find someone you trust. Your lover, your best friend, your partner, your parents - they can go with you, or be there as you engage in the process.
I test every year. Not being at risk should not preclude testing. I include it with my cholesterol and other blood screenings. I do so because I give blood. I would like to be certain that I am giving life and not an infection, so I implore us all to do it for whatever reason - just do it.
Speaking frankly and purposefully to our youth gives them the self-esteem to protect themselves and their friends.
Certainly there is an event or foundation in your neighborhood. Seek out the people who have dedicated their lives to helping others live and die with grace. Save judgment for your maker. For those of us who are infected, we must pay attention to them as well. Lend an ear, a meal, hold an infant, or buy some groceries.
No one wants to be alone or without joy, especially those who are chronically ill.
I have made a commitment, with the memory of my good friend Marc in my heart, and the courage of Rae Lewis Thornton on my mind, to be at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, Chicago IL on March 25th, 2010 at 6:00 PM. In support of the RED PUMP PROJECT, if you are in the Chicagoland area, join me! ROCK THE RED!
If not, think of us and put yourself in motion to join the cause. Host an event, meet HIV/AIDS community leaders, or write a post!
You just may save a life!