AIDS

Whoa, there. This one really came out of left field. Caught your eye though, right?

Let me start off by saying I am proud to be part of a cool and talented group of people in the Buffalo Blogging Network. One of the best parts of working on the blog is the people I get to meet and collaborate with because of it. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to dive in again. 

So, the Buffalo Blogging Network is an official sponsor of this year's AIDS Walk Buffalo, presented by Quest Diagnostics, and supporting Evergreen Health. For my local followers, the 26th annual walk will take place on Saturday, May 5th at Delaware Park. PLEASE join us! I know there's like, a LOT of walks and events in May (in part because we are all stir crazy and willing to be outside from dawn until dusk and nothing can stop us!) Let me tell you a little bit about why this one is important.

Long before I was involved with this event or a blogger, I learned about AIDS. It was 1995, and I was about 11 years old. The next part will sound really ridiculous, and maybe it is. I learned about HIV and AIDS from watching General Hospital with my mom. There was a groundbreaking storyline featuring two young, beautiful characters who fell in love. The guy (Stone) had dated a girl who was homeless and dabbled in (needle-style) drugs. They slept together. Later, Stone met the young and brilliant Robin Scorpio, fell in love and eventually, they too slept together. Stone found out he had HIV, and learned he passed it to Robin who was only 18 years old at the time, bound for Harvard. Yes. This is a soap opera (THE BEST SOAP OPERA SO DON'T @ ME.) It's a story. At that time, talking about AIDS at all was still very taboo, and as a young girl, it was all new to me. The writers shared a story that was informative, heartfelt, and moving. My mom sat with me and watched it everyday, always asking if I had questions and asking me how I felt about it. I am glad I had that opportunity to learn the facts about HIV and AIDS at a young age, enabling me to be open-minded and educated about the challenges people with the disease might face.

In case you were wondering, the character of Stone passed away at age 19, Robin at his side. I'm pretty sure Emmys were won that year. Robin's character went on to become a doctor and was among the group started on the HIV drug "cocktail", which would end up becoming a lifesaver for those who contracted the disease in the future. I confess I don't know the details about this medicine, but I do know that many people with HIV can now survive the illness, and some may even go on to lead relatively normal lives. Thank God for science, research, and tireless support that stems from events like AIDS Walk Buffalo. But the work is not done. 

On a personal note, my husband's uncle Jimmy died of AIDS in the early 1990's, and it was devastating for his family. His uncle was a young and vibrant man. He was an actor who traveled the world, specializing in puppetry. I learned about Jimmy through my mother-in-law. He was her younger brother, and she basically raised and took care of him while her mother was at work. He was in love when he died. He had so much more to do.

AIDS is still an epidemic, worldwide. I think it often gets pushed aside for other, newer, more newsworthy crises. We cannot forget those living with HIV or AIDS, the struggles they face, the health resources and support they need. I invite you to join the Buffalo Blogging Network on May 5th for a walk to celebrate how far we've come, and remind this community that we are still here, fighting with them. 

 

Photo by Dave Dicello