This past week, I ran into an individual I hadn’t seen in a coon’s age. We’d worked together years ago and since, we’d lost contact. It was wonderful to see her again. We caught up on the details of our lives since we’d last seen one another. She asked about the rumor she’d heard I’d been ill several years earlier. I told her I had been diagnosed with AIDS.
Her response took me by surprise. “Well, thank goodness you’re cured.”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
My friend thought because she’d not heard of AIDS on the TV or read about it in the papers, the virus was cured. She’d heard about a once-a-day pill people took to prevent contracting AIDS, and she assumed that was a cure-all for AIDS.
Out of sight – out of mind. Because the media doesn’t report on HIV/AIDS as they once did, the general population believes HIV/AIDS must not exist any longer. Also, too many people have assumed that HIV/AIDS was cured since introducing Truvada (the little blue pill) which prevents an individual from acquiring HIV.
My friend brought up the fact I didn’t look sick, therefore, I couldn’t have AIDS. It hadn’t occurred to her that over the years major strides have occurred in HIV medications. Today a person can live with HIV/AIDS without exhibiting physical manifestations, that is if they have access to proper medical services, take expensive medications, and care for themselves.
The visit with my friend was educational. I was aware of the need to educate on HIV/AIDS prevention, but there is also a need to educate the general population of the broader picture of where HIV/AIDS research is today.
For 43 years, HIV/AIDS had been a cloud over my life. In the early 80’s the media had convinced me that because I was a gay male, I would die of HIV/AIDS. I believed that was my fate until AIDS became a reality for me. After my diagnosis, my fight was on to beat this virus. Since then I’ve been actively involved to battle the stigma of living with the virus and to do what I can to encourage research, education, and to assist others struggling with the day-to-day challenges of living with HIV/AIDS.
That is why I’m passionate about supporting the central Texas AIDS Service Organizations to continue doing the fabulous work they do. For them to continue to provide the greatly needed services to assist central Texans affected with HIV/AIDS.
This past October was a wake-up call for the HIV/AIDS community when one of the 10 central Texas AIDS service organizations permanently closed their doors. For 26 years, this organization had provided non-medical support to central Texans living with HIV/AIDS. I was one of their many clients. The organization’s board cited “funding challenges” as their reason for closing. This can not be the future for the remaining 9 agencies. The reality is that without funding, the AIDS Service organizations cannot continue to provide low or no-cost services to the HIV/AIDS community that depends on them.
Next Saturday the 19th annual Hill Country Ride for AIDS will occur. HCRA is the largest AIDS fundraising event in central Texas, benefiting 9 central Texas AIDS service organizations. I’m not physically able to ride a bicycle, but that’s not stopped me from participating as a VIRTUAL RIDER to help raise awareness that new HIV/AIDS infections are still on the rise AND to ask YOU to help me reach my goal of $1000 for Hill Country Ride for AIDS. Please share the LOVE and donate to assist central Texans affected by HIV/AIDS.
Share the LOVE NOW by donating here:
#HCRA2018 #DaleThele #Author #Novelist