Thursday, December 1, 2016

World AIDS Day

I am told it is World AIDS Day today. My younger friends may not remember when AIDS was sweeping the country. Straight people may not have realized it as it was happening. Those days when, in the LGBT community, deaths were occurring again and again and again.

People were literally wasting away. I did home health care back then and cared for many people with AIDS as they died. I watched person after person waste away, watched nurses and aides refuse to enter their rooms out of fear, even though they'd taken the mandatory course on blood-borne pathogens and should have known they were safe.

And while a great many of my clients were gay men, I also watched straight women die, women who'd contracted HIV from husbands and boyfriends, single mothers who'd only learned they were HIV-positive when they were pregnant, mothers who worried about who would care for their young children when they were gone.

I watched children die, children who'd been born HIV-positive, children whose families were afraid to tell even close family friends and relatives the true nature of the child's illness due to the stigma of AIDS.

I accompanied friends to the Health Department to get a free, anonymous AIDS test, waited and worried with them for the seven days it took to get the results.

I went to Washington to see the AIDS quilt spread on the Mall, so many squares representing people that had lived and died with AIDS.

It all seems like a long time ago. But let's not forget.

No comments:

Post a Comment