Monday, December 01, 2003

Today is World AIDS Day

"Five people worldwide die of AIDS every minute of every day. HIV has hit every corner of the globe, infecting more than 42 million men, women and children, 5 million of them last year alone."

While I do not know personally anybody who has died of AIDS, I do know some friends who are living with HIV. I was lucky enough to have come to Chicago in 1992 when AIDS had already been identified. A couple of years earlier, I could have easily been a casualty of this epidemic.

I think that sometimes as well gain some headway in other political areas in our fight for equality, we forget how young people who have not experienced a time where there were no protease inhibitors and "AIDS cocktails." I think that people are starting to believe that getting AIDS is no big deal. When I see chatrooms or personal ads that proclaim bareback sex, it is a frightening development. There are (unsubstantiated) accounts of HIV positive people who are purposely trying to infect others, calling themselves "gift-givers" and those that seek them as "bug-chasers."

As we turn our attention to more current issues such as the Gay Marriage debate, we have to remember there is still an epidemic that is happening in our community and beyond. We need to protect ourselves and be aware of the risks involved in unprotected sex. We need to let young people know that they are at risk.

Some more stats at Peter's LJ.