Dare to Care


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.

I’d like to invite you to join me September 18, 2011 for the C.A.R.E.S. AIDS Walk in Sacramento, California. Click here to get the details for walking or donating.

2 Replies to “Dare to Care”

  1. First of all, I LOVE this picture!!!  As always a well written blog.  I am glad that you mentioned how much things have changed since the early years when it seemed everyone who contracted the HIV virus went on to develop AIDS and most died of the opportunistic infections they acquired with an immune system no longer equipped to wage an attack of any kind on the body .  TODAY people do live long healthy lives with HIV/AIDS.  The drugs are effective at beating the virus  back to an undetectable level (this level being the “viral load”), AND also at  preserving the immune system (as represented by the CD4 count) AND  actually helping the immune system recover and get stronger (as represented by the CD4 count  improving).  Within 6-8 weeks with the right treatment, 
    viral loads and CD4 counts may improve considerably.  
    Early detection and treatment is only possible if individuals get themselves tested and tested regularly if they are sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship.   With early education about safe sexual practices, with consistent use of protection, regular testing, and early treatment intervention, we can protect future generations from the epidemic we witnessed in the early 1980’s.

    Off my soap box now……………..Janet 🙂

  2. My brother has been living with HIV since the 80’s. He has a positive attitude and raja care of himself in a healthy way. He gets help paying for his mess. Times have changed and Hiv is no longer a death sentence. I list a brother to AIDS but unfortunately he didn’t follow what his doctors said. He also did not give up his drug addiction. But I have always had hope for my brother who does everything he can to stay healthy. I will be walking with the Dare to Care team in support of Peter and my brother

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