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World AIDS Day 2011

Let’s get real folks.  There is a serious pandemic going on in the world called HIV/AIDS.

HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus

AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (the final stage of HIV)

HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system making you unable to fight off infections or even cancer.

It was first coming to light when I was in college some 30+ years ago.  Back then it was called the “Gay Cancer” because what little we knew was that you could only get it if you were gay, an intravenous drug user or Haitian.  We didn’t know.  We were young, stupid and foolish.  Nobody really knew what was happening or why.

HIV/AIDS was officially recognized in 1981.  Since then the World Health Organization has estimated that it has killed over 25 million people world-wide.  That number is probably low.

It is the sixth leading cause of death among people ranging from 25-44 in the United States.  It was number one in 1995.

Right now there are an estimated 33 million people living with HIV.  Over two million of those are children under the age of 15.

Chances are that you know and love someone who has HIV.  No need to wear a Hazmat suit.  You cannot get HIV/AIDS by shaking hands, hugging, touching something that an infected person has touched or anything foolish like that.  And no one is safe!  It affects men, women, straight, gay, bi, black, white, asian, hispanic, everyone.  Africa is being decimated.  It is estimated that Africa accounts for 72% of all HIV/AIDS cases in the world.

I’m going to give you some links that Dr Tim trusts and believes in to give you reliable information.  Check them out.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/default.htm

http://www.aids.org/

http://www.aids.gov/

http://www.aids.gov/world-aids-day/

http://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/default.htm

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000594.htm

http://promotions.usa.gov/worldaidsday.html  (brochure about HIV & Women.  click the link to read the brochure, the information is only if you are ordering copies)

Now there are many graphic photos which I could add to this post, but I don’t think I will.  Take it from Dr Tim, AIDS is a very unpleasant, painful, ugly way to die.  I have been with friends as they died from AIDS.  I have interfaced between widowed lovers and families.  I have cleaned out their homes.  I have been yelled at, physically attacked and abused by those left behind with their grief.  No, this is not a good way to die.

Wearing a red ribbon is not a proclamation that I am against HIV/AIDS.  Everyone is against disease.  I do not wear one to make you think I am better than you.  That is a waste of time.

I wear a red ribbon so that those who are suffering can see it and know they have a friend, that they can come to me for help and that I will do anything I can to help ease their suffering.

We have lost friends, family, athletes, movie stars, musicians and so many more to this disease.

I’ve said it before, but please be careful and treat your life with respect.  I do not want to lose any more of you.

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