Friday, December 10, 2010

World AIDS Day events Reggie & Dionne Smith

Wednesday, Dec. 1st, 2010 was World AIDS Day, and there were a plethora of events going on around the country.  Having had a keen eye on the metamorphosis of the day that was set aside to  focus on AIDS, it has been interesting, and a blessing, to see where we are today as opposed to where we started.

In the beginning, the day of remembrance held much sadness and reverence. There was a lot more memorializing, and a certain sense of fear and resignation because the proliferation of the virus was decimating our communities, while terrorizing mostly everyone.  The simple act of having sex was causing trauma, and there was an unfounded fear of even coming into physical contact with anyone carrying the virus.  Things have changed a great deal as we have had years of experience to draw from.  Some of the fear has abated, but the stigma is still very much a part of the problem.

It would be unreasonable, in my opinion, to not be grateful for the many pharmaceutical advances, but one of the downsides of those gains are the increasingly lax attitude of some people who feel that you can just "take a pill" and be alright.  The diseases caused by HIV are more manageable now, but HIV is certainly not for sissies.  There is a discipline needed to maintain some modicum of normalcy that does not often get discussed by those of us who are host to the virus.  Not everyone, by the way, is blessed enough to have the option of taking medications due to their costs here in the U.S.

Never the less, stigma still pervades in more ways than one.  When stigma is coupled with the pre and post traumatic emotional disorders that affect the wellness of all of us who are affected, HIV still is winning the war, and it is showing the kind of resolve that continues to indicate it will not stop until we are extinct.  Now, nobody is gonna get out of this thing alive, but if you don't stand for something...and besides, what is more worth fighting for than salvation?  In order for us to be emancipated from the bondage of self, it is important to identify the enemy and use the weapons we have to wage the battle. 

The love of God, family and friends has saved and encouraged me.  I am responsible for spreading that love to all those who would receive it.  World AIDS Day presents another opportunity to do so.  After 25 years of personal, intimate experience as a host for HIV, one day will never be enough to share all I would like, but I am grateful to have another day!  I give thanks, honor and love to all those spirits and beings who have either passed on as a result of exposure to, or are living with HIV.  We stand on your spirits and fight on in your memory.

I was on NPR Wednesday Dec. 1st with Michel Martin on 'Tell Me More"  one of my favorite shows.  Then my wife Dionne and I were on Professor Michael Eric Dyson's NPR show the same day discussing how we negotiate in a "hetero-magnetic" relationship, where one person is HIV+, and the other HIV-.  Michael is a brother I admire greatly and we are honored to have been on his show as well.  Dionne and I are participated in panel discussions during the International Conference on HIV Stigma in Washington D.C. on Wednesday as well.  You can find us online, on buses and billboards as part of the "Greater Than AIDS" campaign too (  Kudos to all of the advocates, activist and soldiers that are willing to participate in our own salvation, so that we are not complicit in our own demise.

Posted via email from Reggie Smith 770 by SocialNetGate

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