Thursday, December 01, 2011
Keep the Promise
This is World Aids Day and I can't help but reflect on my experience with individuals living with HIV and AIDS. It occurs to me that I haven't actually been in conversation with someone living with AIDS in more than a dozen years, since my time in Sudbury. In the late eighties, early on during my time there, I was invited to a meeting of the AIDS Committee of Sudbury and ended up as a member. As clueless as I was, I found myself visiting HIV/AIDS patients in hospital and conducting funerals and memorial services for young men who succumbed to the disease.
At that time there were no drug cocktails to prolong life and contracting AIDS was a death sentence carried out fairly quickly. I met family members who were in total denial in some cases, angry in other. Some, usually mothers, continued to love and provide parental support and care, even when they didn't understand and accept. I admired them and learned alongside them.
Today there is much better AIDS education and while it is still a terrible disease, in North America many live well for years thanks to medication. One of the high profile individuals living with HIV is Magic Johnston, former NBA star, who announced his diagnosis and retirement twenty years ago in November.
In other parts of the world AIDS is still a killer because of poverty and the lack of drugs. We aren't "there yet" by any stretch.http://www.worldaidsday.org/
Any thoughts about your own journey of understanding through the years? Have you known people who died of AIDS or live with HIV now? Parents, have you talked with your children about AIDS?