Scream with me...

This past weekend Jim and I watched HBO’s “The Normal Heart” written by Larry Kramer. If you have a chance, I highly recommend that you see it. It is so very well written and acted! Watching it the tears flowed freely and often as I reme...mbered those early days of the AIDS crisis and saw that from my point of view, after 33+ years, not a whole lot has changed.
After watching “The Normal Heart” I realized that we are still fighting to stop the spread of this stupid virus called HIV. We still deny there is a problem and we are still afraid to speak up, no, still afraid to yell, no, we are still afraid to shout it at the very top of our lungs and scream until we have no voice left that there is a problem here. People of every age, every color, every gender classification and every sexual orientation are still being infected and at alarming rates! And, people of every age, every color, every gender classification and every sexual orientation are still getting sick and are still dying in numbers too large to comprehend after all this time.
We know how HIV is spread. We have known for years. We know how to prevent the spread of HIV and we know how to treat those who are living with HIV and AIDS and again, we have known for years. Yet, HIV continues to spread and people living with HIV and AIDS continue to die. Why is this happening?
I have spent the past 12 years of my life fighting. I fight every day to live with this stupid virus called HIV and an AIDS diagnosis! I fight to stay as healthy as I can. I fight to teach those in schools and their parents to be safe, to do all they can to stop the spread of HIV and to protect themselves and those they love. I fight to take my pills on time every day. I fight to end the stigma and shame that goes with an HIV or AIDS diagnosis. And almost every day I feel that these fights are for nothing. It often seems to me that almost no one wants to help and almost no one wants to fight along side of me and a few others like me who are fighting to end HIV. And again I ask why is this happening?
Just in the past couple of years, my relationship to the person I love has become recognized as a true marriage, a true and loving relationship. It took years of fighting and often during the fight it seemed like we would never win. Yet now here we are, Jim and I are truly a married couple, recognized by both the state and country we call home. Marriage equality is now a fact and not just a dream for us and thousands like us.
Now that the fight for marriage equality is won, can we please turn our attention to the fight of the epidemic that has taken so many lives and cost so much money, time, pain and sorrow? It is an epidemic that began over 30 years ago and continues to devastate the lives of so many. Can we please start talking, no, start yelling, no, start screaming from the top of our lungs until we have no voice left that the time to fight to end HIV is now? Can we please do something together so that I will not have to feel as if I am fighting these fights alone? Can you, my friends, my family, my fellow human beings help me fight? Will you start screaming with me, please?

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