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Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day

30 years ago nobody knew it was AIDS. It hadn't been named then. 10 years later AIDS would have already decimated the gay male population, blood transfusion patients, intravenous drug users and children born to AIDS-infected parents.

Classified a retrovirus, and within that group a Lentivirus, HIV was named the cause of  Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome. Retroviruses are tricky, as they change and mutate over time, making chemical therapy ineffective. Recent advances have helped people with AIDS live longer, but they are very expensive and not universally available. There is no cure and no vaccine, for AIDS, still. More than 30 million people have died of AIDS

World AIDS Day began in 1988 and since then, infection rates have dropped in "first world" countries. But in "third world" countries it is a leading cause of death. It is this awareness, that the pandemic isn't over, that AIDS is preventable and that education works, that's the focus of World AIDS Day.

Today I remember those I lost with love.

For more information:
http://aids.gov/world-aids-day/

http://www.worldaidsday.org/

2 comments:

paulg said...

This is very moving.

We recently passed the 20th anniversary of NBA star Magic Johnson's declaration that he is infected with HIV.
That fact that he has not only stayed alive, but thrived and is a high visibility spokesman on ESPN and elsewhere gives me and many others hope. Certainly, the treatment is costly and it is a crime that the drugs are not universally available for that reason.

Thanks for posting this Laura!

Austan said...

I'd started a list naming everyone I'd known who died in the AIDS crisis. But it became so long and names kept popping up, and I just couldn't keep going. So I elected to not name anyone for fear of leaving someone out and having to keep re-editing the post to add more names. Between 1984 and 1998 Seth and I had been to 4 dozen wakes and memorials for AIDS victims we knew. It was like The Plague. You don't want to forget these things but they're tough to remember, too.