The Fairy Princess’s wings are beating a bit sadly at the moment, and her tiara is pushed back in frustration…why, you may ask?
Because it is World AIDS Day, and while there have been great advances in medication, we are still losing people to this terrible disease.
The last person that the Fairy Princess said goodbye to because of AIDS, left this realm in 2009. He was a funny, talented, dynamic man who, to the end of his life, in the hospital, would not actually tell The Fairy Princess that AIDS was the reason they were there. He did not want to be a statistic. He did not want to be part of ‘that group’. He denied it up and down, forwards and backwards, and indeed, The Fairy Princess was more inclined to accept that her friend had kidney failure, and that was the reason we were in the hospital. The only reason that FP knew we were in the hospital because of AIDS, was because she overheard a Doctor discussing it.
We were not in the hospital for kidney failure, that was a symptom.
The Fairy Princess had lost other friends, too many, very many before, to this disease – but this last devastatingly beautiful person had not shown any of the outward signs she had associated with the disease, he had just gotten very thin – and one can get very thin when dealing with kidney failure.
We were not in the hospital that last month – in and out, in and out, in and out – because of kidney failure.
The Fairy Princess did not chastise a nurse for not realizing her friend was having a TIA because of kidney failure. She did not run around trying to find Cool Ranch Doritos because that was the only thing he would eat because of kidney failure. The Fairy Princess was not walking up and down the corridors of the hospital trying to get medical attention because her friend was very uncomfortable because of kidney failure.
We were in the hospital because of AIDS.
When The Fairy Princess and other friends had to clean out his apartment after his death, we were in that apartment because of AIDS. When we had to haul clothes we were donating, send letters to his friends who regularly corresponded with him but for whom we had no phone number, box up things to send to his Family in another state, when it took SIX of us to accomplish all these things, it was because of AIDS.
When about 200 people showed up at his Memorial Service, and we all watched people speak of him with love, sing for him, dance for him, watched photos and clips of his work, when they met his Mother for the first time, it was because of AIDS.
It is World AIDS Day and I ask you, not to grow complacent because it IS possible to live a full and varied life with HIV medications – but to remember why there is a day for this disease.
There is a day for this disease because people who had this disease did not get another day.
There is a day for this disease because there is no cure.
We recognize this day because the people who get this disease are our Friends, they are our Family, they are strangers we do not know, they are people we have grown up with.
We recognize this day because when we lose so many, there is a chasm that is hard to fill in our hearts, in our daily lives, and in our society as a whole.
So please, because this IS World AIDS Day, please remember
1. People are still dying
2. AIDS is preventable with Education and safe sexual practices
3. HIV infection is on the rise
4. THERE IS NO CURE
5. ANYONE who does not protect themselves with condoms during sex, can contract AIDS
Respect Yourself Enough To Protect Yourself.
This clip is from a film called THE SENSEI, it deals with AIDS, Martial Arts, and Bullying. It is endorsed by The Matthew Shepard Foundation, and I was very honored to be an Associate Producer on it.