December 1st is World AIDS Day. While I should be happy that the world acknowledges the day, I am a bit disappointed. My disappointment comes from the fact that World AIDS Day is just that - one day. Only one day! I live with this disease every day!
I sometimes get frustrated that HIV/AIDS is allotted one day, while there seems to be an entire month dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Every October, as I walk through the grocery store aisles, there appears to be a product on every shelf in pink packaging, signifying that proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research. Why isn’t there something like that for HIV/AIDS? I want to walk down the grocery store aisles and see products in red packaging signifying that proceeds will be donated to HIV/AIDS research.
I can’t help but feel that the stigma behind HIV/AIDS is the reason that there is not more of an outpouring of support. It’s easier to turn a blind eye and believe that you aren’t at risk, nor are the ones you love.
I, personally, never believed it could happen to me. I didn’t use IV drugs. I was not sexually promiscuous. I thought I was somewhat immune to HIV/AIDS. But I was wrong, very wrong.
So while I will wear red in honor of the day and pay a visit to Starbucks to buy a Product Red coffee, I will not likely do much else. Simply because, I, like so many others, am guilty of allowing the stigma to dictate the level of my contribution. I hope that as the years move forward, so will the stigma and the judgement.