Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Awareness, Acceptance, Action: Today is World AIDS Day

"Having lived with HIV for nearly 27 years, have attitudes changed. No, so ask yourself why? Ignorance and fear, so changing attitudes and improving education at all ages and levels of our society may make that difference.  More awareness, better understanding and increased acceptance that HIV is here and not going away" 
-Michael, from

Today, all over the world, people are taking a stand to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. When I started to see people changing their status, wearing red, sporting ribbons, and even silencing themselves for the cause, I knew I wanted to do something too. I knew I wanted to take action, do my part to spread the word about what is going on today. I could have worn red, or silenced myself, or even sported a lovely ribbon, but I knew my efforts would go unnoticed being that I am stuck inside this Brooklyn apartment with a sick sneeze-baby on this gloomy day. And so I decided what better place to take a stand than here on Sneezeweed. 

HIV/AIDS is something that I have been hearing about ever since I was a child. I remember Mrs. Starkman, the elementary school health teacher, giving us fact sheets and dispelling myths about AIDS from the time we were little. I remember watching Magic Johnson documentaries in middle school, and I remember watching those same videos in High School. I always knew I couldn't catch it by giving a friend a hug, I always knew that people can live long healthy lives having HIV/AIDS if they received proper care, and I also always knew that not everyone received this care and many people died from HIV/AIDS every day. Today, though,  I was humbled. When I decided to write this post I thought it would be a good idea to do my homework and look up some facts and current goings on having to do with HIV/AIDS, and there are so many things that I did not know. 

-Did you know that there 33.4 million people living with HIV in the world today? I didn't. 

-Did you know in the year 2007 430,000 children under 15 were diagnosed with HIV? I didn't.

-Did you know that the rate of HIV infection is decreasing in many African and Middle Eastern nations, but is stable in America? I didn't. 

-Did you know that many people living with HIV still feel that there is a stigma against them, and they choose to hide the fact that they are infected? I did know, but I didn't want to believe it. 

I know that giving you four small facts about HIV/AIDS doesn't seem like much of a stand. I am not walking around silent, I am not volunteering to help others get tested, I am not even wearing red; but I am giving you information, and like Michael said educating our society may be what will make the difference for people living with HIV/AIDS. So I got to thinking, as bloggers, we are lucky to have discovered this unique way of communicating and spreading information. So here is the challenge: take what I have here, or create your own version of this post, and add a few more surprising bits of information to the list. Post it on your blog and challenge others to do the same. Spreading the word and dispelling the myths is the simplist, yet most powerful form of action. And while what we are all striving for is awareness and acceptance, we will never get there unless we all take a little bit of action. 

The Daily Sneeze ((or what's fueling the fire today))


Thanks for taking some time to smell the sneezeweed!