But why does it seem like nobody is as aware of this as they are of, let's say, Breast Cancer Awareness Month? (It just seems this way, but I hope I'm wrong!)
Why am I surprised to find out that a lot of people on Blogger are not posting anything about this?
Why am I shocked at the fact that Google chose to commemorate Rosa Parks' defiance on the bus, instead of increasing awareness of AIDS facts and research developments, on its homepage?
Why did everyone turn their Facebook profile pictures pink in October, but not red today?
Is it because people think that, since it is spread through unprotected sex, those who have it deserve it for not being more careful?
Is it because people believe that it is a gay person's disease, and they are against homosexuality?
Is it because people think that only promiscuous people have the disease?
Is it because people think it is really only a big problem in Africa?
Is it because people think it is rampant within poorer populations, those who are already "taking advantage" of the system?
Or is it because drug users who share needles contract the disease, and so because they are addicts, they should not be helped?
I don't care.
Because it's not true.
HIV/AIDS affects more people than drug users, sexually active people, homosexuals, and disadvantaged communities. Sadly, there is a social stigma on this disease. And that disgusts me.
Any person could unexpectedly contract the disease, especially when engaging in unprotected sex. Let's be real with ourselves and admit not everyone uses a condom (or uses them correctly) every time. That's how babies are made, silly!
HIV/AIDS is not a dirty person's disease. Many people are going about their daily lives who don't even know they're infected! Unless you and your partner get tested, you'll never know for sure if either of you have the disease if you've had previous sexual partners (including those with whom you've only had oral sex).
WORST OF ALL...
Children are born with HIV/AIDS, or contract the disease through the breast milk from their infected mothers.
These children could not prevent themselves from getting infected.
ONE, a non-profit organization committed to diminishing global poverty, stated on their website that 1,000 babies are stillborn in Sub-Saharan Africa every year due to HIV/AIDS.
However, it also states the brighter side...research and medical advancements (aided by funds raised by people like you and me!), is helping. Access to healthcare is improving. Immunizations are helping children survive and live longer, giving them a hope for the future, hope that as they grow up, a cure will be discovered.
But it's not just affecting children in Africa. This is a global issue. It affects people, no matter who they are, how much money they have, or who they choose to love.
HIV/AIDS is an illness that is way, way beyond the stigma that it is a poor, drug-addicted, homosexual's disease.
We need to be less ignorant and more helpful.
http://www.broadwayhouse.org/ (I used to intern here, and by the end of the semester, I learned that a lot of the employees were HIV positive. I would've never guessed by looking at them...because that's impossible.)
Now you can't say you have no idea where to get information or how to get involved.
Help make change.