June 2011 marked the 30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS. This is another reflection from my experience working with HIV/AIDS, 1984-1993. You can catch up on previous installments by clicking on HIV/AIDS in the Topics box.
Dare to Care. That’s the name of our clan’s C.A.R.E.S. AIDS Walk team. I love the name because it’s reminiscent of what I’ve been sharing in my HIV/AIDS blog posts. The early years were definitely all about daring to care! If we weren’t daring to care, who would have cared at all?!?
Thankfully, a lot has changed from those early years of AIDS. We know a lot more about the HIV virus, how to treat it, and how to minimize risk and transmission. There still is no cure, but it’s no longer a death sentence for someone with HIV or even AIDS. With all of the advances in research, there are some very effective treatments. The earlier the detection (that means getting tested), the earlier the start of treatment. As with any public health crisis, it’s all about education, prevention, and treatment. Really not much different than diabetes or heart disease.
Knowing all of this still didn’t prepare me for a call I received last year. My son called to tell me he had HIV. He had already told my sister, brother, and other son. He was worried about how this information would affect me. After all, he grew up with me working around HIV/AIDS. He knew everyone I worked with in those days died. He wasn’t sure if i would equate his news with his death sentence.
No mother is ever prepared for their child to have an injury or illness, but that’s reality. We want our children to be spared all of the traumas of life, even though we know that’s not possible. I’ve always been a proponent that my sons are their own unique beings, raising them (hopefully) to be equipped to handle whatever life tosses their direction. But that still doesn’t change hoping they won’t have to go through some of the learning curves we’ve experienced, even though we know it’s through those experiences we’re grown ourselves.
Once we got those initial tears out of the way, the biggest concern I had was what and where he would receive treatment. One of the many blessings in this whole event, is my sister’s health care connections. She’s a nurse at the UC Davis Medical Center. With a few well-placed inquiries, she learned about the C.A.R.E.S. Clinic there in Sacramento. My son is getting great comprehensive care and I’m grateful that C.A.R.E.S. is there for him.
My siblings and their families supported my son in the AIDS Walk last year. We decided to participate as a family this year. There will be four generations of us walking! Of course, the more the merrier, so we’re inviting our friends and the Eternal Scheme community to join us!
We all care about health care and access to health care. It’s getting harder and harder for those who need it to get it…affordably. Often times someone’s only access is through a clinic like C.A.R.E.S. or the only way someone can afford treatment is through a clinic like C.A.R.E.S. I, for one, am willing to show my support because I know they deliver excellent, comprehensive care for those living with HIV/AIDS…and my son personally benefits.
I know you’re approached by many worthy causes. If you’re interested in donating to or participating in a cause where you know it will directly impact the life of someone you know, I hope you’ll consider donating to or walking with our Dare to Care Team. In the eternal scheme, it’s all of us daring to care together that strengthens, encourages, and supports each of us and those we love.