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Linking, Thinking

World AIDS Day 2002

Today is World AIDS Day 2002, a day when we are all encouraged to take a moment to pause and consider HIV, AIDS, their impact on our society and others, and our own views about them.

Frankly, I wish I had the luxury of taking just a day to think about them. I wish I had the luxury of being able to consider those issues abstractions that only intrude on my consciousness now and then. I wish I had the luxury of forgetting the rest of the time.

I stop to think two times a day, minimum. Two times a day I wish I didn't have the burden of taking medication, perhaps for the rest of my life, to make sure I didn't do something stupid somewhere along the line. Two times a day I wish I didn't have the responsibility to keep taking the medicine, maintaining an antiviral assault on my system so that I don't develop a resistance to the drugs. During many other moments during the day, I wish I didn't have to worry about the possibility of infecting the man I love, or I wish he didn't have to worry about me. Every time I get a cold or some minor ailment, I wish I didn't have to wonder if it could turn into something worse. Every three months, I wish I didn't have blood drawn to check on my progress. Every time I hear people talk about their adventurous sex lives, I wish I didn't have to hope they're keeping their wits about them the whole time. Every time I read about some culture's reluctance to fully acknowledge the magnitude of HIV infection and AIDS, and the efforts that could be made to reduce them, I wish I didn't have to quake with rage.

But you know what? At least two times a day I count my lucky stars. I’m grateful I have excellent health coverage and access to my medication. I’m grateful I have a doctor I trust and respect. I’m grateful I have a family, friends, and a partner who don't consider me a pariah. I’m glad I’m able to stay in excellent health. And I’m glad I have the opportunity to use means like this to remind everyone else to count their blessings, and get up and do some damn thing to help someone else have some blessings to count. Because it's never just someone else's problem. As long as we live on this earth together, it's yours, too.

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