Everybody Has AIDS!

I probably can write an entire book filled with things that my mother has said. Some funny, some blunt and some just out right hilarious! There are some things that have stuck out more than others and have followed me as I have matured throughout the years.  Most of the things my mother has said have been teaching private lessons each day of my life.

Once I reached what my mother thought was an appropriate age, she sat me down and told me two things that I remember verbatim, “everyone has AIDS and everyone will get burned at least once”. Um what? I kept asking her, “everyone?” and her reply was the same, “everyone”.   I knew she wasn’t telling the truth and that was not her intention. She wanted me to get the point.  Unless otherwise stated, assume the person has HIV/AIDS until proven otherwise.  My mother didn’t go into detail about much else. However, she did tell me that if and when I was ready she will take me to the doctor for birth control.

My mother’s roundabout way of telling me that if I was going to have sex to be safe was one lesson I will never forget.  I was never afraid to tell folks exactly what she told me, “Everyone has AIDS”.  Of course, I would get weird looks and laughs but at the same time I was assured I was safe.

Did you know that in the U.S. one million people are living with HIV and more than 500, 000 of those are Black? What’s more alarming is Black women make up almost 60 percent of all new cases of HIV among women in the US.

March 10th is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. It’s time for us as women to stand together and do what we can to fight this epidemic. What can we do? There’s plenty.  One of the issues I have with the black community is for whatever reason we are so secretive. We don’t like to talk about our issues and the things that plague us. We like to keep things like molestation under wraps. We don’t talk about our health issues nor do we go to the doctor to check up on our health.  If you are Christian, we don’t talk about sex unless we are married because fornication is a sin. However, we are still having sex. We don’t like to solicit prayers for illness and for dang sho’ don’t want to talk about no HIV/AIDS. What’s up with that?

What we don’t realize is the more we talk about things the more we are aware. Awareness is key when it comes to this HIV/AIDS epidemic. One of the main reasons, in my opinion, it is reeking havoc in our communities is because we are afraid to talk about it.  We don’t talk about it with our children, with our friends and we neglect to discuss it with the person(s) we are having sex with.

HIV/AIDS is serious. This is not something penicillin can cure. The longer we stay silent the longer we agree to kill ourselves. It’s time to start talking about this epidemic.  It’s time for us as women (and men) to stand together and do what we can to fight this epidemic.  There is a great campaign already in motion responding to the HIV/AID crisis,  Greater Than AIDS.   This campaign aims to raise the public’s knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS and is seeking to tackle the stigma surrounding the disease.

It’s time to speak up and speak out! Become aware.  The time is now to discuss what we can do to reverse the statistics. Greater Than AIDS proposes 5 ways to be greater than HIV/AIDS:

1.    Know             Know the facts about HIV/AIDS
2.    Talk                Start the Conversation
3.    Protect          Use a Condom
4.    Get Tested    Find an HIV testing Center
5.    Take Action   Get Involved Locally          

The time is now! Check out Greater Than AIDS at http://www.greaterthan.org/ on how you can get involved and make a difference.