Today, December 1st, is World AIDS day. I am participating in a group effort called Link & Think. I've committed to spending the whole day focusing on posts related to AIDS. Seeing as it is very late, I will skip the digging for interesting and pertinent facts, and go with a story.

The first time I ever really had a personal connection to AIDS was about 7-8 years ago. My mom and I had just gone to get our hair cut at the same stylist she had been using for as long as she's been in Chicago. Since they are also friends, and it was a saturday, he had accomodated us and agreed to cut our hair at his apartment. He had a friend hanging around being fairly unobtrusive. He was a very nice, thirty-somthing guy. I hadn't really thought much about meeting him.

When we left his place my mom explained to me that he had just been diagnosed with AIDS. I had been learning about the disease in school and felt like I could understand what went on, but after meeting someone who had AIDS, I realized the amazing and horrible power of the disease. I wondered what it would be like to know you would die in several years. I also wondered if I had touched him. Despite all I had learned about the disease and the ways it could be transmitted, I still was worried that I might have touched him. It was a wake-up call.

Today, I hope you take some time to think about the diesease, the millions it has effected and ways that you can make a difference. It's easy to forget about it and feel invincible, but we need to work to bring even more awareness to the disease. People assume they know everything there is to know, because it is such a widely known disease, but that is obviously not the case. Today, I hope to educate with the small bits I do know about the disease.

Link & Think.