Guest Author - Jontay Watson
June 5, 2011 marks 30 years since the CDC;s MMWR reported the first cases of AIDS in the U.S. We have come such a long way on the road toward a cure. HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence. There are medications that are extending the lives of HIV/AIDS patients. We are now living normal and healthy lives. We are living life with coinfections. We know how to treat HIV with herpes. Chlamydia, gonorrhea or HPV. We can now live our lives without fear of passing these diseases along to those we love and cherish. We can now have children who are HIV negative even though the mothers are HIV positive.
We know have a plethora of information available so that we can rely on fact and not fiction about HIV/AIDS. We have learned that this virus is not a respecter of persons. It can affect rich and poor, black or white, male or female. Those who want to know the truth understand that it is not a dirty disease anymore. More and more young people are being affected by this disease. Statistics are alarming but a sobering call for those 25 and younger.
We now know how to protect ourselves against the spread of HIV/AIDS. We have programs available for free condoms or clean needles. There are books and hordes of websites available to we can equip ourselves with the knowledge needed. We have support systems via churches or clinics. We no longer have to feel isolated and alone. There are others who have walked the road that we are on and can be an inspiration for us.
In 30 years, we have evolved! We are becoming united. We are standing up and speaking out. WE have a national day of recognition and are going to schools, jails and doctor's offices to spread the word that life can resume as normal while having this virus.
We are struggling to erase the stigma and stereotypes associated with HIV/AIDS. We can only take it one step at a time one day at a time but we are continuously working to create awareness.
Those who have died with the virus have not died in vain. We have learned about the life cycle of the virus and how to successfully affect it during the most critical stages of its development. We are fighting an epic battle against this virus and we will emerge victorious.