Monday, December 01, 2008
World AIDS Day
I have a sneaking suspicion that if Harvey Milk were still alive, he'd be at the forefront of the war against AIDS.
The first person I knew who died of this disease was an architect friend of mine named John. John was a quiet, tall redhead. Sweet as they come. And then, one day, he was gone. It all seemed to happen so quickly.
He was the tip of the iceberg. In quick succession a number of friends started becoming ill with exotic illnesses, some of which we'd never even heard of. Thrush. Kaposi's Sarcoma. And the ever present (and always fatal), pneumonia.
When our next door neighbor, Lee, passed away my ex and I both started getting nervous. My ex had had a brief flingette with Lee just before we met. And in those days, nobody knew anything about the incubation period for the "gay disease."
But the wolf stayed away from our door. In time the medicines got better. "Cocktails" started coming along and people who, only a decade before, would've surely died, started living longer and longer.
Today I know some people who've been living with HIV for over two decades. But there is still no cure. Maybe there'll never be a cure. But more needs to be done.
I hope everyone out there will, at the very least, stop today at some point and maybe think about someone they knew who died from AIDS, or maybe someone they know who is living with HIV. Or, of the millions and millions of people in other parts of the world who aren't nearly rich enough to afford the treatments currently available, or whose national governments think that they are merely getting what they deserved.
There is no more imperious urge in human beings, after the need for food and shelter, than for sexual companionship. Not one single human being who died of AIDS "deserved" to die from it. That's just plain bullshit to think that they did. People cannot be categorized as "innocent victims" or "deserving victims." Nobody deserved this. Nobody did anything to deserve this.
And it is not some sort of divine retribution any more than the bubonic plague was divine retribution on Europe for it's medieval sinfulness.
Stop. Think. Act.
Lives depend on it.
Here are some scheduled events for New York City today:
CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL begins at 6PM
Gay Men's Health Crisis - Tisch Building Lobby
119 West 24th St. (btwn 6th/7th Ave.)
CANDLE LIGHT PROCESSION to Judson Memorial Church:
55 Washington Square South (at Thompson St.)
Time of Reflection to those we have lost to AIDS:
Begins at 6:30PM (for those not at Candlelight Vigil)
World AIDS Day Program:
Begins at 7PM
And here's the official FaceBook page.