Just watched “The Normal Heart” on HBO, based on Larry Kramer’s play of the same name about the early days of the AIDS crisis. Having known both people who have died as well as long-term survivors of HIV, it helped serve as a reminder of how far we’ve come in 30+ years, when this disease was the subject of jokes (only affecting the 4-Hs … homosexuals, Haitians, hemophiliacs, and heroin users), but also that there is still a long way to go to find a cure.
Over 36 million people have died since cases were first reported in 1981. As of 2012, over 1.5 million people die of HIV/AIDS on an annual basis, down from it’s peak of 2.3 million in 2005. There are an estimated 35 million people (of whom nearly 10% are children) worldwide currently living with the virus, with approximately 2.3 million new cases every year.
It doesn’t matter than 95% of new cases and 70% of all cases worldwide are now in sub-Saharan Africa. This is a human disease that can ultimately affect any of all of use.
To that end, in addition to the money that I annually give to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation and the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective here in Utah, I will now also be giving money on an annual basis to AIDS-related charities as well; most likely amFAR (Foundation for AIDS Research) or the AIDS Research Alliance.
Lots of people say they have causes they support, or organizations they believe in, but how many people ultimately put their money or their time in?
It doesn’t really matter what your cause is, but as long as its main objective is the betterment of mankind, then do something … do anything to help make it happen. This is important.