The NorCal AIDS Cycle 2012 is now in the history books. Part of that history is the $304,000 raised for HIV/AIDS services in the Sacramento, California area! Another part of that history is my sister-the-nurse rode those 330 miles and my son slaved behind the scenes supporting the riders. Next year’s ride is already being planned!
The NorCal AIDS Cycle was a 330 mile ride over four days through the scenic Sierra Nevada foothills in northern California. The money raised goes directly into the organizations providing services for those living with HIV/AIDS in northern California. The CARES Clinic in Sacramento is one of those organizations. Team CARES was the largest group of riders and volunteers and raised the most money. In fact, the physician who founded the CARES Clinic rode, celebrating his 73rd birthday on the ride and my son’s physician was an organizer and rode.
Fundraisers, like this, are an essential part of non-profit organizations now more than ever. With all of the significant federal and state budget cuts, organizations rely on generous community support now more than ever. Prevention of HIV is cheaper than treatment of HIV and treatment of HIV is cheaper than managing AIDS. HIV is a $40,000 per year illness, so you can see how prevention (education, safer sex practices, testing) is cheaper than treating HIV! Once HIV develops into AIDS, medical costs only increase as medical issues expand, become more difficult and costly to treat, and long-term health becomes complicated and compromised.
With one in five people in the United States living with HIV and not knowing it, this issue impacts all of us! The global statistics are even more grim, especially since many of those infected don’t have access to any health care and issues of poverty, sex-slavery and other social issues make the overall issue more complex.
Today there is hope where there was only a death sentence when I first started working with AIDS in 1984. We now know how HIV is transmitted and what to do to prevent becoming infected. We know how to prevent HIV-infected mothers from transmitting HIV to their unborn child. We know that with early diagnosis (that means getting tested) and getting started on treatment, you can live a long, productive life with HIV. The effective treatments available today keep many from ever going on to developing AIDS. As with most medical research, much has been learned about other conditions and how viruses maneuver while researching and studying HIV/AIDS. Disease is always affected by social constructs and HIV/AIDS is no different. Many good things are coming out of something that once was hopeless and completely devastating.
My sister is already planning on participating next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if my logistically-gifted son takes over the support team. A heartfelt thanks to all of you who supported them financially and thoughtfully! As with everything in life, a caring community makes all the difference.