Thanksgiving to World AIDS Day

Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the power of a virus to ravage lives. Thank you for extending compassion to every human being, protec...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

World AIDS Day - Bad Timing?

Many express concern that this December 1st date, falling soon after the Thanksgiving kick-off of a holly, jolly season, is an especially bad time to focus attention on a fatal pandemic. Perhaps there’s never a good time to think about AIDS.

On the DC weekend I stumbled across my first World AIDS Day observation, AIDS was the last topic I wanted to think about but the only one on my mind since my brother Bret and I had spent much of the 6 hour cross-country flight in and around the topic of how his days would end now that his fight with HIV was rapidly coming to an end. Yet even that dark World AIDS Day contained a spark of hope, flickering in the last-minute (late for our plane) urgency with which Bret filled a box with HIV/AIDS informational pamphlets to share and in the candlelight vigil we happened upon along the White House lawn.

“In 2011 there were 1.7 million AIDS-related deaths, lower than the 2.3 million in 2005.”   - Fast Facts about HIV

In the 18 years since, that spark of hope has ignited into a beacon of optimism for the 34million people infected with HIV. Even as scientists strive to contain a constantly evolving virus, prevention messages and treatment delivery methods are now customized to address varying cultural and social needs. New focus on HIV stigma now shines a light on human rights violations, like ending violence against women, that challenge individuals and countries alike to consider the worth and inherent dignity of every human being.

It’s never a good time to dwell on the grim reality of an incurable virus that’s the fourth leading cause of death worldwide but isn’t it always a good time to rejoice in the growing light of hope that can only be made possible by the tireless care, advocacy, and interest of each one of us? Please join me in living the 2012 World AIDS Day theme, "Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation", today and everyday until that light is visible in every corner of the globe and AIDS is history.