Today is world AIDS day but unlike breast cancer awareness nobody seems to be making a fuss. In fact apart from one or two people mentioning it, everyone else went about business as usual.
I heard about Paul Walker’s death today (No he didn’t die of AIDS). He was a talented actor and damn fine. May his soul rest in peace. I digress I am sorry but death is always such a shocking experience and the truth is that even though most of us have no clue about when we are going to die, the person living with AIDS feels like he or she is sitting on a ticking time bomb. This disease still doesn’t have a cure, not even a vaccine and yet you still hear people saying “Baby I prefer skin on skin!” (Hellooooooo? Like seriously?)
Contrary to delusional belief, there are more people living with HIV around you than you think and some of them are angry with the world, others are unaware that they have it or even living in denial. Most of them are not bad people, just unfortunate and for the self righteous lot who associate HIV with promiscuity, GOOGLE is your friend! There are other non-sexual ways of contacting HIV. Protect yourselves and the ones you love.
And if you are living with HIV, don’t lose hope. At this point how you caught the virus is immaterial. What’s important is that you remain healthy, happy and free to live your life without any social or moral prejudice. There’s always a reason to be thankful. Here are five things I would recommend because virus or not, life is too short to be wallowing in sorrow.
1. Take your drugs. They are easily accessible and relatively cost free.Even if you are believing God for your healing taking your drugs does not demean your faith in any way.
2. Get periodic medical check ups. HIV predisposes a person to a lot of other secondary infections. Don’t take anything for granted even cuts and bruises
3. Join a support group. There are more HIV support groups than you think. Find one online if you are too shy to attend one in your neighborhood. A burden feels lighter when shared. If there isn’t any, try to make friends with some of the other patients at your clinic.
4. Get busy. Get a job. Thankfully most companies are not allowed to discriminate against staff who have the disease and in your spare time do something that will make the world a better place. Volunteer at a charity organization or help out someone in need. It’s been proven that helping others makes you feel less helpless.
5. Don’t deliberately put someone else at risk. The person may deserve to share in your pain or the person may even be someone you are emotionally attached to whom you know cannot handle the truth but infecting someone else won’t make you whole or happier.
And for the rest of you who are HIV negative or don’t even know your status here are some facts
1. Get tested. Because you were negative last month doesn’t mean you will be negative forever. Every time you have unprotected sex you expose yourself to everyone your partner has ever had unprotected sex with
2. Check your lifestyle. You are not untouchable, be careful
3. Do not discriminate. You are not better than the people living with HIV, time and chance happens to us all and some of them may even outlive you.
4. Skin on skin is a bad idea, condoms don’t cost much and unless you are sure your partner is 100% faithful, protect yourself if not ABSTAIN
5. Be thankful. That you are alive. That you are in good health. That you have troubles you are able to bear.
Today is WORLD AIDS DAY but it’s also the start of the last month of the year, start this brand new month with a brand new lease on life, get tested! Let’s spread the love and not the virus and hopefully 2014 will bring with it a cure for the virus.
Peace and love.
RIP PAUL WALKER (you will be missed)