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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Fear KILLS



This is not a "gay" disease. It's a human disease that started in the male gay community. Like me, many of us pushed it aside as not being something we had to worry about. Today we find the fastest growing population of new HIV infections are women ages 13-24. Early testing would have made a significant difference for me so I advocate for it. I preach about it. I'm good with it. The CDC reports if we mandated testing, we'd stop the disease in its tracks. Yet it's still not part of routine medical screenings. I'm still very confused how after 36 million deaths, we still can't get this handled. Last year we watched in horror the Ebola scare. We even locked people in their houses until we knew they were ok. But we can't screen people for HIV? Today we have granted legal rights to the gay community. We've come a long way as a society, but the testing of HIV is still lost in obscurity as we continue to watch people die. My HIV medications are $6000 per month. Do you think testing has anything to do with the expense involved in treating people with the disease? You might be right. There's one aspect of the HIV medication most don't realize - it doesn't just save me. It lowers the virus load in my body so infecting others becomes nearly impossible. But almost 70% of people infected are not on the medication. How is that even possible? How are we even allowing it? And that's only the ones who know they are infected. Last reports estimate 1 in 8 have no clue they are even infected. We should be appalled at these truths. But if you ask the average folks to get involved, they won't. People will down right ignore it. Today nearly 1/4 of all infections are people over 50 yrs old. This disease doesn't discriminate. Neither should we. There's a stigma, no - a fear of association in regards to HIV and it's literally killing millions. People are scared to be tested. How's that even possible? I'd be more scared to spread the disease than I would be about getting tested but yet it continues everyday. People scream for a cure for twenty five years. Not gonna happen. Why? Because we can stop the disease without one. That's reality. But it takes all of us. Not just one adversely effected group or another. Everyone. This is the message in the book Twenty-Seconds. The power of a collective to get involved. To do something. Anything!!! To not let one more die of ignorance. Not one more baby. Not one more senior. No one more teenage girl. Not one more gay man. No one. This disease isn't a plague. It is and always was a test for mankind. We can make a difference but it needs to be together. I ask you, I beg you even to get tested and to help others find the courage that honestly they shouldn't even need, to get tested. To speak of the issue not with contempt, but with compassion. These are our daughters. Our friends. Our families. Please join us in any manner you can. It's time for everyone to do their part. The disease evolved faster than we did. We can stop it together.
We created a charity called GAB. Short for Give A Buck. Couldn't be easier or cheaper, but in all honesty I'm embarrassed to admit that only 12 people have contributed. I'd laugh if it wasn't so sad. One dollar. Twenty seconds worth of time. 12 people out of thousands that read the book. Nearly twenty thousand followers. Amazing. When I started the charity GAB, there were people who actually got offended. Even some of my family.
In the next month the charity we created will be filing for bankruptcy. Not the book, obviously, but the one dollar charity. We're not disappointed. In fact it inspires us on. There's obviously a lot more work that needs to be done.
Today we look back and find great peace with the hundreds of people who were inspired to get tested because of the book. Those who invited their friends to join us. Those 62 people who chose to write a review. Those that shared our posts. There is always something simple we can all do to be a part. We wanted to say thank you personally to those who took the time. We are forever grateful. We keep moving forward every day with hope and trust, and a gratitude for each new day I'm given to fight this disease. With my last breath, I will never stop. I thank you all for everything you've done to help us grow and reach more people. You are all heroes to us. One link at a time we build this chain. How amazing we are in numbers. Thank you all.
Hope your weekend is filled with peace and beauty. I assure you ours will be. Happy Mother's Day to you all


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