Today is World AIDS Day. Each year, I spend part of the day remembering people I have known who left this world too soon because of that disease.
So: Frank, Mike, Tim, David, Todd, Chet, Jim, Steve, Brian, Rick, Stacy, Phil, Mark, Michael, Jerry, Walt, Charles, Thomas, Mike, Richard, Bob, Mikey, James, Lisa, Todd, Kerry, Glen, and Jack. Some of you I didn’t know for very long. One of you was a relative. One of you was one of my best friends in high school.
I miss you all. It was a privilege to know you.
The theme of 2018 for the World Aids Day campaign is “Know your status.” A huge number of people still think of HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) as a gay disease, when world wide the majority of people infected are straight women and children. Various health organizations have begun recommending the HIV screening become part of routine medical tests administered to everyone, to reduce the stigma of getting tested. Particularly since we have better ways of stopping the spread of infection than in the past, and with modern treatment, being infected is no longer a guarantee of death at an early age.
But you can’t get treated if you don’t know you have it.