World AIDS Day 2009

Each year,  December 1st is the day set aside to remember those we have lost to the pandemic and to think toward the future as we continue to battle this deadly disease.

AIDS has taken the lives of 25 million people and 33 million more are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS around the world today.

As the rates of infection continue to rise, particularly among younger gay men, the fact remains that AIDS stigma prevents individuals from getting tested.

This morning, I was invited to join Larry Flick on his radio show, Morning Jolt on Sirius Radio. As an HIV provider, I forget that many people would like nothing more than to forget this day or act like it doesn’t exist. Larry Flick is not one of those people. I commend him for dedicating his show today to AIDS awarenss, and I was pleasantly surprised by the support he received from various celebrities. Rosie O’Donnell, Boy George and Wendy Williams were all on hand to lend their thoughts about this disease. I am grateful that they did.

Many people, including Larry Flick find fault with the way the gay community handles their own and HIV. In stealing a line from Larry Kramer, Flick repeated, “We are not a community. We are a population.”

I understand how he feels.

This afternoon I received an email that gave me hope:

As this yearly date comes and goes, my emotions are always very mixed.  However, in counting my blessings, I thank God that I live in a society that affords me the care I need but mostly I thank God to have YOU in my life.  You are not just a great caregiver but a friend.  This day belongs to you and I hope you get the appreciation you deserve.  Thank you!

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