Monday, June 05, 2006

25 Years, 40 Million Lives and Counting

Today is a sad anniversary. On June 5, 1981, the first case of AIDS was diagnosed. In just a quarter of a century, 40 million people throughout the world have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Thirty million -- that is 3 out of four -- have already died from it. In the United States, one million people are living with this disease with no cure.

This is unacceptable.

We have come a long way -- not far enough, mind you -- in stemming our ignorance about HIV/AIDS and those who live with it. As more of us become directly affectedby this disease as it spreads in our communities and even touches our own families, we recognize that a HIV/AIDS diagnoses need no longer be a death sentence.

I often fear, however, that our comfort is leading to complacency. This is a disease that is still spreading at an epidemic pace. It is still a disease that severely compromises the quality of life those who contract it. It is still a disease that kills.

So sometime over the next week, do something, anything, one thing, to stop AIDS. Make a contribution to an AIDS organization be it time or money. Educate yourself and then share that information with someone you know who is holding fast to the myths. Practice safe sex. Speak out against bigotry towards people living with HIV/AIDS. Send a letter to your congressional representative to demand that more goverment funding be allocated to the search for a cure.

Let's not suffer this epidemic for another 25 years.

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