AIDS Walk 2009
Well, it is that time of year again. Very soon AIDS Walk will be on us. I’ve already put in for a vacation day so I can do my yearly walk. This will be my third year.
Thank you all who have been supporting me in past years. You’ve helped me raise $2,190! Is that amazing, or what? How incredible.
I was a teenager in the late 70’s. Experts and researchers believe that HIV entered the United States and North America in general about 1976. But the virus takes time to start doing damage. I “came out” about 1981 or so, and was sexually active during a very bad time -- only no one knew it. Gay and bisexual men were spreading the virus, and didn’t know.
I was raised Southern Baptist and was carrying around a lot of self hatred, and at that time in my life I believed I was most probably going to hell for being gay (rest assured I don’t think that anymore). Ironically, that self-hatred probable may have saved my life. I met a woman who thought she could make me straight and I packed lock, stock and barrel and moved from Chicago to Kansas City and was faithful to her during the six years of our relationship. Also during that time, there began the rumors of a new “gay” disease.
At first they were calling it GRID, or gay-related immunodeficiency disease. They didn’t know what it was and figured it was caused by a combination of promiscuity, many doses of STDs breaking down immunity, and poppers (of all things – thank goodness I never liked them anyway!). As those years went by, this acronym was changed to AIDS and the HIV virus was discovered. I remember when my lady discovered she was pregnant, there was an early HIV test and she had it done to make sure our baby was healthy. After all, a gay man was the father.
Thank God and the fact that while I was a gay man in years were promiscuity was secretly deadly, and that I was a little wild, I wasn’t promiscuous “enough.” Apparently. I guess being taken out of the sex game during those dangerous years saved my life.
Fear of AIDS (and how little was known about the disease) was one more thing that made it hard to come out the second and final time. But once I realized that it was religion that said I was “bad” and not God, I was finally able to accept myself and come out as to who I really am.
And by coming out, I had to face something else. AIDS related death. I lost many close friends. Watching big bears turn into concentration camp-like victims was horrifying. Watching gorgeous young hot men turn into skeletons before my eyes was agonizing. Watching friends no matter their age, size or looks, fade away was incredibly tough. Many went FAST in those days.
Now we have drugs that make AIDS at least a somewhat more manageable disease. Unfortunately, some people misunderstand what that means and have thrown condoms to the wind, and HIV is on the rise again. I can’t tell you how many young gay men I know who haven’t even been tested because they believe the rhetoric that AIDS/HIV is now as “manageable” as diabetes.
Then why am I still then loosing friends?
Through miracle upon miracle, I am HIV negative. Considering some of my brushes, and not-so-only-brushes, it really IS a miracle.
So, I am doing what little I can do to help. I walk.
If you can, please do the same. Every dollar helps.
What’s great is that you don’t sponsor by the mile, you just pick an amount. You don’t have to worry that your walker will walk twenty miles or something.
And if you can’t, will you sponsor me? It is so darned easy and I know it is safe. The website is famous for how safe it is.
Just go here and help me out? http://www.firstgiving.com/cslkc
I, and so many others, will appreciate it beyond words.
We WILL end this disease!!!!