Yesterday was World AIDS Day. As one who is involved with the LGBTQ community in Toronto and internationally, I knew it was coming. I’d seen the reminders, I read the posts. The day is not insignificant to me; I have seen some of its effects. I did not come out until very late in the last millennium, so I missed the real ravages of the “AIDS Epidemic” in the 80s and 90s. I knew none who were infected at that time, and I barely recognized how those who were had been dehumanized by those who did not understand and especially by the church. Today the situation is much better and people in Western nations are living much longer, but there remains and underlying sigma associated with the virus. So I do think it’s important to recognize World AIDS Day when it rolls around. At other times I’ve made a point of walking through the “AIDS Memorial” at The 519, a recognition of those who have died over the years.
But yesterday was a busy day for me. Dentist first thing; then I had to run to work and spent much of the day redeveloping a reading analytical tomes; I took some time to do some Christmas shopping afterwards and then zoomed home for dinner. As I was checking my FaceBook feed before bed, a friend posted about World AIDS Day. I had completely forgotten. It had been a good day, and I just got too busy to reflect on the import of the day.
It occurred to me that those who are HIV+ don’t have that option. They can’t forget about HIV or AIDS, even for a day. They might be living longer, but it is by maintaining a specific regimen regarding drugs and their health. They can’t afford to have a day that is “too busy” that they forget who they have become.
I remember a time before AIDS. Though we will never be without it again, we can conquer it’s effects on people, we can find a cure. I pray that will happen soon, within my lifetime. Although people who are HIV+ can certainly live today almost normal lives, I pray that one day they will be free of the drugs they have to take to keep the virus in check. It is possible. It’s up to us to make it a reality.