These kids today ...
I feel so old just writing that, yet there is no more accurate statement, at least with regard to the topic of HIV/AIDS. When I came of age in the 90s, one of the many hooks we all sang was "Let's Talk About Sex" (by Salt-N-Pepa, the first all-girl hip-hop group ... they also had a reality show for a few minutes, if that's all you youngsters can relate to). And talk about sex we did. From condoms to girl power to HIV. All these concepts were blended together to form our overall vision of healthy sexual expression. It was almost impossible to talk about sex without inserting (pun intended) the word "safer" in front.
Recently, I traveled to Las Vegas to attend the annual, national conference on the care and treatment of opioid addiction held by AATOD (American Association of the Treatment of Opioid Dependence). It was a huge gathering of some of the most important and influential addictions professionals, counselors, medical personnel, and other entities involved in the overall treatment of this population.
Imagine being a young person and being kicked out of your home for being "different". Imagine finding a shred of hope in a welcoming shelter with other young people struggling with similar experiences. Then imagine feeling in danger of this hope and shelter being taken away. Imagine worrying that you will once again be thrown away, back to the streets. That some of your only means of survival is to engage in risky behaviors. To feel you have no other choice but to risk your health and safety just for a meal or a place to sleep.
Okay, this blog entry is directed at those who are not actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For those who are active and would like to persuade others to join us, please share it with them. We are all well aware of the need to maintain our voice in this fight; we also need to recruit new members to share our mission and passion!
This month the discovery of AIDS turns 30. On June 5, 1981, a rare pneumonia diagnosed in five Los Angeles gay men was reported to the CDC. These were the first ever documented cases of what would later become known as AIDS. (Check out a comprehensive history of HIV/AIDS here).
I probably don't need to tell you that our lives are full of tons of stress. Money, relationships, terror alerts, traffic, unemployment, poverty, the endless circus of GOP candidates, finding out your partner had a child with your maid 10 years ago (okay, maybe that one is specific to a certain Kindergarten Cop).
In a breath of fresh air, The New York Times Op/Ed writer Charles M. Blow provides a well-rounded, well-researched, and thought-provoking commentary on the need for our government to pay more attention to the ADAP Crisis.
I know what you're thinking ... I'm too old to watch or care about MTV's The Real World. Yes, this is true. However, because I'm old enough to vividly remember the early days of The Real World, I feel the need to explore what I'm seeing with the latest cast members.
Before we get into all of that, this post will give you the opportunity to learn more about me. I am a Licensed Social Worker with over 10 years experience working in the field of HIV/AIDS. Prior to my professional work, I have several more years experience and education in all things HIV/AIDS.