Today is World AIDS Day.
Back when I was in high school, there was talk going around about the "disease that kills faggots dead," and I remember very well listening to some insane bitch on television spout off about how God's retribution against the homosexuals was at hand. Of course, for the homophobic masses, it was too good to be true. Or too good to last. Because AIDS soon moved on to heterosexuals, which was still okay because they obviously did something to incur God's wrath, right? But then children started getting AIDS and, since nobody wants to think that God would give a child AIDS, attitudes towards the disease started to change.
But not fast enough.
Because I also remember the widespread panic that hit in the late 80's as there was serious concerns that the AIDS crisis was going to wipe out a massive chunk of the population before anything could be done to stop it. This eventually proved to be true, but not to the genocidal levels that were originally projected by some of the more alarmist "specialists" in the field.
I've known exactly four people who have died of AIDS.
To me this seems like a tragic number to have died from anything, but it's barely a blip on the radar to some people I know. People who tell horror stories of how they did nothing but go to funerals in the late 80's and early 90's, and how most everybody they knew who wasn't already dead was dying. An unfathomable situation that would test the resolve of anybody.
Yet the human condition prevails. The survivors pick up the pieces and move on as best they can...
AIDS is not over.
AIDS is happening right now.
AIDS is still killing people around the globe.
And now a new generation is reaching sexual maturity. A generation which has no memory of the rampant destruction that AIDS is capable of unleashing... not in some far away country, but right here at home.
Somebody has to educate them
And that's why today we remember.