As I sat at my desk to start my research, I came across this headline: Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys died. In this case, death is a good thing; they did it to support Aids research. Find out more at http://bit.ly/gIhfpr.
Following the celebrity attention, I thought about this year’s World AID’s Day theme and how it related to my life; the theme of 2010 World Aids Day is “Human Rights and Universal Access” is so relevant for this moment in time when the world and it’s governments are having so many financial setbacks, loss of jobs, and hardship for so many. We can’t forget that HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care are fundamental human rights, and protecting those rights are essential in combating the world HIV/AIDS epidemic. Not only do we need to raise AID’s awareness, but by advocating individual human rights in this manner, we’ll see a decrease in new infections. All people that are living with HIV/AIDS must live free from stigma and discrimination.
I continued to research and the familiar smile of “Magic” Ervin Johnson flashed across the screen. A man who was supposed to die when he announced he was HIV positive 20 yrs ago. I realize that many AIDS activists feel he is not your typical person living with HIV because he can afford the best care money can provide and does not have to worry about getting placed on a waiting list to get his meds through (ADAP) Aids Drug Assistance program. However, as controversial as he may be in some people’s eyes, I do believe in giving credit where credit is due. Many people around the world look up to Magic Johnson; not as much for what he did on the court, but more as a successful businessman who helps by investing in African-American neighborhoods to help with prevention education, treatment options, and HIV/AIDS awareness. Johnson has become a spokesman for the treatment of the disease, and founded the Magic Johnson Foundation, which promotes better access to treatment and testing. At a reception the Sunday before World Aids Day, and sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Johnson was presented with its inaugural “World AIDS Day Magic Award.” Magic’s contributory efforts need to be recognized for helping improve the lives of many who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. This in turn helps by providing hope, awareness, access and prevention that pleases many…but not all. If you would like to get involved with the Magic Johnson Foundation, please Click here to learn more about it.
On Worlds Aids Day, I attended a local event at Grace Lutheran Church in downtown Phoenix. The evening began with a speaker presenting some startling facts about HIV. Following the speaker, the attendees were entertained with a show & music that was well received on a warm evening that closed out with prayers that honored the memories of those who’ve passed away. I urge you to take a moment to express your appreciation and give the gift of service by volunteering and lending a hand as often as possible to anyone you may know who is infected and to the many (ASO) Aids Service Organizations & Educational services that rely heavily on volunteers to spread the word of awareness, prevention, and treatment to those facing the many challenges of HIV/AIDS.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday!