November 15, 2010
For our World AIDS Day 2010 section, we wanted to capture the diversity of the AIDS community. So, we reached out to people across the world -- mostly those who have never written for us before -- and asked them to guest blog. These columns are written by people who are living with HIV, have been affected by HIV, or work in the field.
Richard Cordova III
When I was offered the opportunity to blog about World AIDS Day, I began to think of the actual wording, "World AIDS Day." I was immediately filled with a sense of gratitude. A sense of gratitude for the medications I have, the support systems I have in place, and of course my own good health. This is not to say that people here in the United States don't face their own set of challenges when it comes to living with HIV.
For instance, as of October 7 there are 3,586 people in eight states who are on waiting lists for AIDS Drug Assistance Program coverage. One hopes that they are finding medication through other programs while waiting for a spot on ADAP. In other parts of the world, people are not so lucky. What is the first (and only) line treatment in some parts of the world is third or fourth line here. Of course in many places (especially in Africa), medications are not even available.
Is there stigma associated with being HIV positive here? Yes there is. However, at least for me and the people I know, they are allowed to live their lives as they see fit. In other parts of the world having HIV/AIDS is like asking to be branded an absolute outcast who is most certainly seen as less than human.
Gratitude is defined as a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. On this World AIDS Day, as all others, I will strive to be thankful for what I have and appreciate what has been given to me. This includes appreciation for the unique set of challenges that have made me the person I am today.
Richard Cordova III is a project manager at Test Positive Aware Network in Chicago, Ill.
Read more of Positive Indeed, Richard's blog, on TheBody.com.