Did you know that?
There is a giant red ribbon hanging on the front porch of the White House today.
December 1 is still World AIDS Day. There still is no cure. People still get sick and die because of AIDS.
People are also living much longer and are taking medicines that really do help slow the progress of the disease.
The drugs that work are very expensive and state and federal programs that help pay for them are in danger of being cut.
Sometimes the side effects and the dosing schedule are so difficult and intolerable that folks stop taking the drugs.
I spend a lot of time helping out at Higher Ground, a day center for people who are HIV positive. It is a free-standing program of Triad Health Project, the local AIDS service organization. Three days a week, every week, local churches and other groups provide lunch for 25-40 hungry clients and volunteers and the one paid staff person who tends the souls and cleans the toilets for all who come through the doors.
Higher Ground is a place of acceptance for many who have been turned away by family, churches, and friends. Believe me when I say, God is in this place and miracles do happen here. Like crack addicts who are able to stay clean and have their own apartments for the first time in their adult lives thanks to case managers at Triad Health Project and the support and love of peers at Higher Ground. Or men like my friend Bill who has been HIV positive since the 1980′s. He had a leg amputated above the knee a while back because of HIV complications and was back at “The House” a few weeks later, smiling. Many volunteers over the years, from high school students to those of us with gray hair, have been profoundly touched by the courage and faith of the men and women who pass through Higher Ground.
Did you know all this was still happening?
Today, there is much more hope. But AIDS is not gone. If you can, please donate your time and/or money to a local AIDS service organization. They still need you.
Triad Health Project’s vision statement:
We will stand together for as long as it takes until HIV/AIDS is no more, promoting enlightenment, dignity, acceptance, understanding, and love; demonstrating that we are not only enduring this epidemic, but also prevailing over it.