Dare to Care: NorCal AIDS Cycle

NCACLogoSliderTrue or false:

1. The rate of new HIV infections is going down in the U.S., but not elsewhere in the world.

2. It is possible to reduce the HIV viral load to 0 in an HIV-infected person.

3. The chances of people with HIV passing on the virus to unaffected partners is reduced by 96% if they are treated early.

4. Almost 40 % of new HIV infections are in young people ages 13 to 29.

Three years ago my oldest son was diagnosed with HIV. He and his brother often accompanied me on home visits I made to people dying from AIDS. Often they waited in the hospital waiting room with Mrs. Gordon while Dr. Gordon and I attended the final moments as someone died. He took messages when clients or family members called my home phone (this was the pre-cellphone era), building his own relationship with them when only in elementary school. Back then, everyone I worked with already had AIDS by the time they were seen by a medical professional and they were all dead within four years.

The day he received his diagnosis, he went directly to my brother’s house. When he told Vic his news, they both burst into tears. Then they went to my sister’s, waiting for her to get off work as a nurse, to tell her together. His next call was to his brother. I was the last one he called. How do you tell your mother that her son has a virus that will have to be managed for the rest of his life when everyone she knew with AIDS is now dead?

I am so thankful he’s able to receive comprehensive care through CARES, the largest HIV/AIDS nonprofit clinic in the Sacramento region. Because he was diagnosed and treated early, his HIV is virtually undetectable. He will be on anti-viral drugs for the rest of his life, but he can have a long, fulfilling life.

This is the ninth year CARES has a team of cyclists participating in the NorCal AIDS Cycle. Money raised from the event goes to a handful of nonprofit organizations in the area who provide direct services to those living with HIV/AIDS. This is CARES biggest fundraising event.

8517207219_bc1502f444_mMy sister, Janet, is riding with Team CARES again this year. She was especially close to our brother, being closer in age and living in the same area as him. His suicide in December has been really hard for all of us, but training with Team CARES has been an outlet for her grief. My brother was the main male figure in both my son’s lives and has had an impact on them, especially my oldest son. My son’s team at CARES was indispensable to him during his darkest hours of grief.

Since I can’t ride, the least I can do is ask you to support my sister and her fundraising goals for the ride. She has a website that tells more of her story and connects to the Team CARES donation page. Thank you, in advance, from the bottom of a very grateful heart.

Now, are you ready to see how you scored in the true or false statements?

1. The rate of new HIV infections is going down in the U.S., but not elsewhere in the world. FALSE. The rates are going down faster in other countries than the U.S.

2. It is possible to reduce the HIV viral load to 0 in an HIV-infected person. TRUE. Here’s a great video.

3. The chances of people with HIV passing on the virus to unaffected partners is reduced by 96% if they are treated early. TRUE. Don’t believe me? Read the study.

4. Almost 40 % of new HIV infections are in young people ages 13 to 29. TRUE. Today’s young people are the first generation that has never known a world without HIV and AIDS. In the United States, almost 40 percent of new HIV infections are young people ages 13 to 29.

One Reply to “Dare to Care: NorCal AIDS Cycle”

  1. Well, well – you did write a blog for my charity ride 🙂 Do I know my sis?? Thanks for your support. I have already received a donation from one of your friends. Every dollar counts in the fight against this disease. XOXOX

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