“We live in a completely interdependent world, which simply means we can not escape each other. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. It is not someone else’s problem. This is everybody’s problem.”~Bill Clinton
I have been observing World AIDS Day almost since its inception in 1988. By the next year, I was using it for a time of education with my classes. I lived in NYC, I was hanging around with artists, and friends and friends of friends were dropping like flies. There were multiple funerals every week. It was hard not to be aware. Impossible not to be involved.
I talk about interdependence all the time, about education, about openness, about love. Because of this, on this 25th World AIDS Day, I’d like to ask you to educate yourself about this worldwide epidemic. The US gets off relatively lightly, but even here there are still thousands of new AIDS diagnoses a year. Throw away the idea that AIDS is a “gay disease” or that it’s punishment from God, so if you’re “good,” you’re “safe.”
Worldwide, there are 700 babies born HIV+ every day. These children couldn’t possibly have pissed off any god yet.
And really, if you’re reading my blog, you don’t believe in a god that sends down plagues to make a point. Not since Exodus, more or less. Yet, shockingly, I still hear people (people I expect better from) spout this nonsense. If someone has AIDS, it was “deserved”. Frankly? That’s Bullshit. By that same argument, people who have type 1 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. cancer “deserve” it. Can our actions lead to all of these diseases? Yes. Are we responsible for those actions? Yes. But “deserve” smacks of punishment. We take risks and we lose.
Overall, don’t take risks with your health is the takeaway of that point.
But a small reminder today: educate yourself, your loved ones, don’t judge, care and love one another.