Saturday, September 29, 2012

Use your mentality, wake up to reality - get tested

It's all about status. We know our marital status if it is not already apparent by what we wear on our ring finger. We know about our Facebook status because our cousin in Michigan can comment in the time it takes to check her cell phone. We also know the status of our departing flights because we waited two hours in lines for a one hour delay. The status that we often do not know is our HIV/AIDS status. Of the various statuses that we have in society, we can help to combat this deadly disease by being tested regularly. We not only do this for our own health, but because the choices that we make affect so many people around us. I remember the days in the 1980s when it seemed like the death toll from HIV/AIDS would never stop climbing. Friends, family and associates became casualties in this war against an epidemic that took away far too many of them before their time. Three decades since we have rallied around red ribbons and giant quilts, we now see a new generation of young people needlessly falling prey to HIV/AIDS. Education is essential to combating the ignorance and silence that go hand in hand with the spread of this preventable disease. This is why it we need to continue taking preventative measures (e.g. using condoms with sexual partners) and continue to quickly obtain treatment for those who do test positive so we can take a proactive role in stopping HIV/AIDS in its tracks. I was inspired because a colleague of mine lost her uncle to HIV/AIDS and I joined her in a community walk to raise awareness. I have always been fully aware, having organized a candlelight vigil for World AIDS Day while in college and having been a medic in the Air Force who was trained to educate people about staying healthy. Today, however, I helped in the fight by not just talking the talk, but literally walking the walk and by getting myself tested. This fight is not over by a long shot. To those who battle daily to finally win, I say that I am with you.

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