My aunt is a lesbian, so the introduction of the topic that one could be in a relationship with someone of the same sex began there. I never thought negatively about her having a girlfriend; I thought it was a sweeter, gentler love. She was my mother's sister and if my mother loved her, then I would too.
I look at the past 31 years. We have spent a bazillion dollars on HIV prevention programs across the U.S. We have plastered billboards and created every poster, sign and flyer or note card known to mankind. There are PSAs, commercials, short videos, long videos, YouTubes, full feature movies.
I recently had one of the worst possible scares. Ok, perhaps not THE WORST, but it felt like it at the time. My Virus came back, also known as having a detectable viral load. This meant that either one or more of my medications failed and was no longer working. The fear behind that is "what if they all failed and I'm resistant to everything?! What then? What are my options if there are none left?"
What is the last pain you felt? Was it physical or emotional? Pain is dually a physical sensation and an emotion that has the ability to exist for all of us humans. Thus it is in many ways normal. I have never met a human that feels no pain. And it seems our reaction to pain is what separates the ones who cope well with pain from the ones who need help.
The Sun shines on everyone. It shines on all of us, on our bad days and on our good, our somber days and our joyous days. There was a time when we knew little about the sun and whole cultures revered the sun. It hasn't lost any of its powers, it is still very mysterious, wondrous and life giving. And it has not missed a day of your life since you or I arrived here. It shines undeterred. When is the last time you looked up in the sky and said thank you to the sun, for providing you with warmth, sunlight? When is the last time you realized that our ancestors gazed upon, pondered its true significance? The sun has been a daily presence for you and for me. It is my hope that you will spring from your chair and go out and feel the sunshine on your face. Say Hello.
I remember when I was growing up, my pediatrician father used to come home and drink himself into oblivion; a place I always wondered why he frequented so often. One day, he said plainly that as a doctor that he just hated all the dying and that he thought that by him becoming a doctor that he would have a hand in helping the dying of innocent lives come to an abrupt stop.
I prefer to call you all friends, because I think the world these days has more than enough enemies all around and I do not wish to be among the hated or despised. Yet, there are those in this world who will hate me, simply because I breathe the air they breathe. I am a woman living with AIDS.