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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

So Many Ways to Support Friends in Need

By Aless Piper

August 4, 2014

Where have I been this year? Excellent question, but let's put it aside for a moment and talk about HIV/AIDS, which is, after all, why we're all here.

The sad news out of Mississippi about the young child who was thought cured of HIV perfectly illustrates why it is just so important to continue supporting AIDS Service Organizations. They are still very much in need, and sorely underfunded. Education efforts are still relevant. People are still contracting HIV and people are still dying from related complications. To date, Timothy Ray Brown is the only person who has been functionally cured of HIV successfully. If you are able to give anything at all to these worthy organizations, please do.

If you are currently sitting at your computer saying "How can I help?!" -- that is my all-time favorite question.

My friend, Bob Bowers, also (better?) known as One Tough Pirate would like to continue his prevention and education efforts in the schools of California where he is now living. To do this, he needs money, which he hates asking for. I have absolutely no problem asking for money for good causes, so follow the link and see what's going on over at his fundraising page.

The level of stigma, misinformation and fear out there, with regards to HIV/AIDS, continues to be staggering.

All Bob asks for in return for being part of his "mighty crew," where total, unconditional love and acceptance rule the day, is that we help him fight HIV/AIDS. He feels, and I know y'all agree, that thirty-odd years is too long, too many have died needlessly and it's time to kick HIV/AIDS to the curb. Together, I know, and Bob knows, we can do anything, so let's help him raise some money to do some good.

He has a website which contains links to his social media accounts among other things; follow him everywhere.

Next up, my local ASO, The AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, is having its 25th AIDS Walk on September 28. I'm excited and have signed up to raise a minimum of $1,000, a goal that, I'm not going to lie, I've been struggling with. But I chose the amount and would like to surpass it, because this year, the ACNS has had to suspend the operations of its Health Fund. This important program, which costs $48,000 a year, helps with non-insured medical services (yes they do exist), hygiene items, food, and other essentials that many of us have the privilege of taking for granted. 80% of the ACNS' clientele live in poverty, so the Health Fund is very much needed, and sorely missed.

If you would like to donate to my Walk efforts (please do!) you can do so by clicking here. If you would like a tarot reading ($1 to $7 Canadian) or to buy a "Rose of Hope" with your donation ($5 Canadian), click here for details. Every little bit helps and is appreciated, both by me and by the ACNS.

If you want to keep up with any crazy fundraising ideas I may get as the date gets closer, feel free to subscribe to my Facebook updates.

As this article, in a slightly different form, started taking shape in my mind, I saw someone post on Facebook that they were going to *SCREAM* if one more person use the term "AIDS," instead of HIV. If we don't have better things to fight for than the correct use of more "enlightened" terminology, I've missed the memo -- can someone forward it to me? It seems to me that more important things include: continuing to fight for a cure, an end to stigma, fundraising money for people living with HIV/AIDS and the organizations that exist to help them, educating the masses so that stigma and infection rates decrease, and I know y'all know the list goes on from there, all of which needs to be done urgently.

Larry Kramer wrote that AIDS, yes, AIDS, had a hard time breaking peoples' hearts. When Kenda from my local ASO paid me a visit to hook me up with a Walk kit, and chat about my plans, dreams, and ideas for this year, I quoted that. We both sat there nodding at the truth of it. So frankly, I don't care what you call it, HIV, AIDS, HIV/AIDS, "slim", that which we shall not name, you don't even have to say it -- Angels in America didn't, everyone got the point anyway -- you just have to be willing to fight for, and do, all of those things I mentioned above. At the very least, please get educated and pass that knowledge on. I have friends -- Edward, Bob, this guy, and others -- in this fight as I know many of you do, so let's get on with the business of winning it already.

In 2011, I remember knocking on someone's door to solicit a donation. I identified myself, what I was collecting for, went into the "feelings" version of mine and Edward's story (I felt trepidation as the appointed time drew near, etc.) And when I was done, the woman who didn't appear to be very old said "That's cancer, right? My husband gives to that at work."

Finally, this October will mark 17 years since that day in 1997, near to the beginning of my last year of elementary school, when I met Edward, an event that as many of you know, changed my life forever. It will have been 17 years since I nervously paced the main foyer of Brookhouse Elementary in my mother's "fancy" high heels. 17 years since Edward presented me with my first red ribbon, and a copy of Look Beyond, Michelle Valberg's gorgeous photo book of Canadians living with HIV/AIDS. Wow, right? The enamel pin is long since broken, the book is so tatty the corners have been taped multiple times.

After an extended vacation, I'm just getting started.

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Flaming Red

Aless Piper

Aless Piper

Aless Piper is a 20-something office assistant by day, world-changer by night. She is a voracious reader, and addicted to iced caramel correttos from her favorite coffee shop. She has been reading for more than half her life.

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