30 Days Positive – AIDS …Then and Now. – Follow the Journey on Facebook
Last week I dropped a hint that I had been working on a story and this week I have a little more to tell. This isn’t about dating, my life of chaos or anything most who know me would expect me to write about. What I am about to embark on will challenge me emotionally and force me to face a fear that I admittedly have had for my entire life and am not proud of.
The very thought of AIDS, contracting, being around people with the disease even just hearing the disease mentioned is something that has always triggered a myriad of emotions that frighten me to my core. Though there have been advances in medicine, treatments and research towards finding a cure, still to this day for me it’s something I’d rather not know about, something I’ve just closed my eyes to. That is about to change and for many reasons. Facing my fear is a huge part of why I am about to do what I am but another reason is to help people out there who share my fear, and I know you’re out there.
30 Days Positive
Every 9½ minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV. The impact of the HIV epidemic continues to span the nation with HIV diagnoses, since the first cases of what later became known as AIDS were reported in the United States in June of 1981. Globally, more than 25 million people have died of AIDS since the first cases were reported in 1981. AIDS has become one of the world’s most serious health and development challenges. Despite being a growing epidemic, awareness has lead to prevention and helped to reduce HIV prevalence rates in a small but growing number. The fight still continues.
Admittedly, I know very little about the disease and what it means to be a person then and now battling the virus that has killed 25 million people. What I do know or feel now, is that my problems and those of many others are nothing in comparison to what those diagnosed and living with the disease face on a daily basis. For the next 30 days, I will walk in their shoes.
Over the next 30 Days I will open my life up entirely to candid and heartfelt discussions with those newly diagnosed and those who have been living with the disease for years. I will learn about the risks today compared to then and what awareness has done to impact prevention both in our region, across the nation and globally. I will experience what it means to be a person in 2011 with the disease through partaking in all of the daily routines. I will learn and share what is being done to educate and prevent the spread. This ongoing series will capture not only the emotions but the struggles faced by a person living with AIDS in 2011. It will also identify what we as humans can do to help with those struggling today both here in Dayton and around the world because out of sight is NOT out of mind.
Why Do This?
Those who know me know that I am often caught saying, “Get a real problem to complain about.” To explain, I feel that there are many of us who walk through this life baffled and stressed by such trivial matters and nothing will change in the world until we realize there is much more going on around us that deserves those emotions and acknowledgement. As human beings, it is OUR responsibility to reach out and help those around us, with whatever they are dealing with when we have the opportunity to do so. For a very long time, I lived my life in a bubble very narrow in my mindset about the purpose of my life and what it means to be a good person. My profession has opened my eyes to a world around me with people whom are in desperate need of help, of caring and understanding but most importantly for a world of people around THEM to wake up and take action. It’s time to take action.
I would like to thank ARC and Lisa Grisby in advance for agreeing to let me be a part of what they are doing and allowing me to take part on what is not just a story but a chapter of my life that will forever change who I am. Thank you also to Daytonmostmetro.com for letting me stray away from my rants and do something more meaningful. I encourage you to follow me on this journey. There will be columns, video as well as an opportunity to participate in conversations on social channels but I will adhere to confidentially and respect to all who participate. Throughout this series I will also identify and capture ways in which you too can get involved. My only goal in doing this is to open eyes and use what little influence I have for good because I know in my heart that hundreds, thousands maybe even millions still know as little as I do. Whether because of fear or just lack of awareness it has to change.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale