It's 2011 and the world is still dealing with HIV and AIDS. Decades have come and gone where doctors and scientist were certain they would have found a cure, yet it hasn't happened. People have gotten to the point of making it a manageable disease and can live with it - but others still die from it. Not everyone can afford the cocktail drugs used to stay alive. Not every country makes it a priority. And not everyone thinks about it. Yet on this day, this World AIDS Day - the news will bring it up again and people will be reminded it's still a part of the fabric of our lives.
It's been on my mind much lately and not just for this day. As an indie writer who has not only written my own book that deals with the 80s and 90s when the epidemic was at the onset, but as a reader it has shown itself in many books. Rick R. Reed has written a moving love story Caregiver where AIDS plays a prominent role in the story set in the 90s. I'm currently midway through reading author Kergan Edwards-Stout who has chosen that same period for his book Songs for the New Depression which vividly details what people were going through in the early days of AIDS. I've yet to read his book yet, but Don Carrel (another author I've met on twitter) has written about his own dealing with the disease for over 30 years now as he works to educate everyone about it in My Dream to Trample AIDS.
It excites me that while none of the writers knew the other was writing about this period in history, the stories were being told for a new generation who may be removed from that 'not-so-distant' past. Reminding people where we have come from in this epidemic. Allowing others of a certain age to relive it once again. And that is not a bad thing. People should be reminded of it from then as well as now. It's not over. A cure has not been found. But we have certainly been able to get to a place of living with and not only dying from.
To commemorate this day, I encourage people to remember those lost. Read one of the books mentioned here or another one you find. Watch a movie such as And The Band Played On or Long Time Companion. Celebrate those that are gone and cherish those that have a constant reminder of it in the form of daily medication. And think about what each of us can still do to be sure it never leaves the minds of those who are working towards awareness, treatment, and a cure.
I still pray we will see it in this lifetime.