Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Today is World AIDS Day and I'm Thinking of Brian

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day, as it has been since 1988.  Some things have changed since AIDS arrived in America in the early 1980's but unfortunately much has not. There is still no vaccine and there is also much less publicity and awareness than 20 years ago.

Here in the USA the urgency is gone. AIDS is no longer sexy( to coin a phrase). It seen as just another chronic disease, not a  death sentence. H1N1 gets a lot more media coverage.  HIV/AIDS is viewed as a disease of the disadvantaged and morally depraved and for most middle class Americans has been put into the " it could never happen to me" category-- even though millions of Americans are living with AIDS and according to the CDC as many as 50,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.

On this World AIDS day I would like to share the story of my friend, Brian.  Brian was diagnosed with AIDS in 1987 and died in September of 2003. I watched the course of his disease and how at the same time that it ravaged his body, it seemed to enlarge his soul. He was a man who had suffered much: childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, and discrimination because he was gay.  I was privileged to know him for almost two decades and to call him my friend..

Please click on this link and read an inspiring article about Brian written soon after his death..  It puts a personal  face on a terrible disease and I hope gives honor to a dear friend whom I miss greatly. That seems a fitting way for me to mark World AIDS Day 2009.


JamaGenie said...

Very touching tribute. Now I know why Brian was so special. The world has lost a great human being.

pinkpackrat said...

Oddly enough, it was his pain that burnished him and made him real-- like the velveteen rabbit:-)

solargroupies said...

Thanks for bringing this to light Roberta. Hard to believe we see 50,000 new cases every year, and it still takes its toll on all of us taking people who are special to all of us.

pinkpackrat said...

Hi Glenn and thanks for commenting. It is a disease that may not kill as many as malaria but does kill--slowly and in a very horrible way.