Posts Tagged ‘aids awareness’
…but let it be more about his life.
Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS at age 13 and gained international notoriety fighting for the simple right to attend school. In his short life, he opened hearts to the humanity of AIDS and opened minds to its reality.
As a father, I remember him most as a student and a son. He taught us about courage and forgiveness when by all accounts he should have shown none. His mother taught me how the strength of a parent can help shape the life of a child – even one facing the uncertain future of HIV/AIDS.
It may have been inevitable that he would succumb to AIDS in a world without early diagnosis and anti-retroviral therapy. But his family’s fight for basic human rights drove awareness and focus in a time of fear and ignorance.
After moving to a new community, Ryan was able to thrive in his new world, attending school events, learning to drive, and making the honor roll. Maybe for a little while, he got to be a kid.
Two decades later, Ryan’s legacy lives on. His mark can be found in legislation that provides assistance to AIDS victims and in the commitment of his mother and friends around the world to fight the disease that killed Ryan.
His name is on our country’s most significant AIDS legislation: The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act. First approved in 1990 and extended in 2009 by President Obama, the act created the nation’s largest HIV/AIDS federal grant program. It has been called America’s most important step in fighting the AIDS epidemic, helping thousands annually to receive support and care.
May we never need another Ryan White to lead a nation to better understanding. Bless Ryan and his family for their conviction and strength. This was something he didn’t need to go to school to learn.
“AIDS can destroy a family if you let it, but luckily for my sister and me, mom taught us to keep going. Don’t give up, be proud of who you are, and never feel sorry for yourself.”
To find out more about the life and legacy of Ryan White, please visit http://ryanwhite.com.
I was speaking to a group at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS (http://www.swhiv.org) and heard some objections to the word “control” when it was used by another speaker. I started to think about what influence we really have over any aspect of our lives after a positive test…
The old Miram Webster dictionary says that control means to exercise restraining or directing influence over something or to have power over it. Let’s examine some ways we still have some control over our lives:
First, we control whether we seek or begin treatment. The decision to begin treatment is a personal one best made in consultation with your healthcare provider.
Second, we control who we share our status with and who will be on our support team. I recently wrote a blog post about the positive benefits to your immune system when you share your status with supportive family and friends. It is your choice whether to share your status and who you share it with.
Third, we control our lifestyle choices. Even after a positive diagnosis, we make impactful choices about living a healthier lifestyle. Studies have shown that infection with a second strain of HIV (superinfection) may have medical consequences.
Fourth, we control our nutrition and diet. There are some basics we all should be aware of including the need for additional protein and calories in our diet. Several of the antiretroviral medications also require increased water intake in order to prevent kidney complications.
Fifth, we control how much we know about HIV. Have you heard the phrase “Knowledge is Power”? Read, ask, and share are the only ways that we will have the knowledge to take back some control after a positive diagnosis.
There are many more ways to exert some control over a diagnosis that may have us feeling out of control.
I recommend starting with Positively Aware – a publication by the Test Positive Awareness Network. Please visit: http://positivelyaware.com/ . This bi-monthly publication is loaded with useful information.
Check back here frequently for more information and sources to build your knowledge and power.