Remember that today is World AIDS Day. When I started this post, I wanted to make a point, but the topic is so broad and so close to my heart, I decided to just let the thoughts ramble. If they are disjointed, so be it. For many folks, this is the one day of the year when AIDS is in on their radar. For many folks, however, HIV and AIDS are a reality every day. Many have lost friends and family members to the epidemic. Many others are living with HIV and AIDS, either short term or for many years. There are newly diagnosed cases every day in this country and around the world. You might claim not to know anyone who has died or is living with HIV, though I doubt the reality of that claim -- unless you live in the forest or on a desert island as a hermit. The reality is that, although you might not be aware of anyone affected, everyone is affected directly or indirectly. The world has been deprived of the talents and contributions of millions of people whose lives were cut short due to this epidemic. Families have been torn asunder as mothers, fathers, children, siblings, and others have faced illness and have either lost or are still fighting the battle. Twenty five or more years of HIV should make its eradication or control a priority for everyone of us, for the medical profession, religious leaders, educators, and the government.
I sit this morning thinking of so many people == some fighting, some now at peace. For Tim and David who have been facing the challenge everyday for many years I pray for another year of health and progress. For all the people I have known who have died (too numerous to list), I pray peace for their souls and their families. For society, I pray for an end to judgement and prejudice and for every person out there to find a way to get involved. For our young people, I pray for knowledge and responsibile behavior. With all of the information there is on the transmission of HIV, there should be no valid reason for our kids to become infected. Parents, talk to your children about this stuff. Young folks, you are not invincible - be responsible.
I hope that all of the events and publicity of this World AIDS Day result in at least one life protected, extended, or remembered. That one life (hopefully many more) makes these events worthwhile. Don't let the day go by unnoticed. And in a manner similar to Ebeneezer Scrooge who vowed to keep Christmas in his heart every day, let us each commit to keep HIV/AIDS in the forefront of our consciousness.