On June 5, 1981 doctors discovered a rare cancer that weakened the immune system beyond repair and labeled it GRID(Gay Related Immune Deficiency)we now know that disease was HIV/AIDS . Over the past 25 years we have lost loved ones and friends to this terrible disease. Who can forget when MTV introduced Pedro Zamora to the world as a person living with AIDS as a part of the Real World San Francisco cast. He was invited into our homes every week and not a single person in America could say they didn't know someone living with HIV/AIDS. We all wear the face of this disease, either you're infected with it or affected by it.
My first real introduction to a person living with HIV was through a visit by child activist Hydeia Broadbent at my catholic elementary school. It was amazing to see a child with such courage, not only was she living with a disease that was considered a death sentence at the time, she was traveling across the country speaking about it. Hydeia is now 21 years old, a college student, and works full time. With the development of life saving medications (HAART) in 1996 the disease that was once a terminal illness is now considered a chronic manageable disease.
We've come a long way but there is still work to be done. The stigma of living with HIV is still prevalent in our society, and people are still becoming infected at alarming rates, especially in the African-American community.
Let's not let another 25 years approach us and we're still allowing fear, homophobia, and a desire not to know one's status determine whether we live or die. Stand UP ! FIGHT AIDS!