World AIDS Day

Today is a day when people are suppose to take a moment and recognize that HIV/AIDS has affected their lives.

As a gay man I can say it touches my life every day. When I first was even recognizing that I was gay was when HIV was first discovered back in the early 80’s. I have lost many friends to this disease. I have lost role models. I have lost friends. I have lost loved ones. Some of my friends from college never saw the age of 30.

I’d prefer to continue my thought process from this morning though from a gratitude perspective. So on the flip side, AIDS has given me special moments with special people who no longer are with us. I have seen people put aside their differences for a bigger cause. I have seen and experienced love conquer hate as people face this virus. I’ve seen individuals rise to the challenge and be more than they ever thought possible.

I remember going to Washington DC and seeing hundreds of thousands of people visit the AIDS quilt as it was spread out on the lawn. I remember thinking how sad, that all these people are here cause they lost someone.

Then I realized what would truly be sad is if no one came. If this huge quilt was laid out and no one came to honor the lives it represented. Those hundreds of thousands of people represented love. Love of someone they lost. Love of life and the value we place on it.

So take a moment today and tell someone you love them. Then think about giving a donation to a local HIV/AIDS service provider or cause.

Here are some quick links to make it easier to give directly to their donate pages. But here are two of Kansas City’s HIV/AIDS service providers.

Good Samaritan Project

Save Inc. (provides housing)