AIDS WALK DELAWARE: SEPTEMBER 12-19
What Could We Learn from a Trip in a Time Machine?
Picture it in your mind. People are getting sick, passing along a virus, but show no symptoms of disease. As information trickles out through the media, people decide that only a certain population needs to worry about dying. Then people from diverse populations receive worrisome diagnoses. Children get sick. People in essential jobs face risk.
The science continues to develop, and information reaches the public. Some information contradicts previous information. So, some people hold onto outdated beliefs about the illness. The health community awaits a treatment that takes forever to arrive. The working poor are disproportionately affected.
Fear of the virus is putting a damper on people’s social lives. Certain types of establishments are closed by the government in order to protect the people who like to gather there. People behave secretively due to the stigma associated with infection.
People are advised that they can protect themselves and others by implementing inexpensive protection. But people don’t like wearing barriers—they don’t feel great, and some people are overconfident in their ability to avoid infection. Intoxication is blamed when people don’t comply.
Are we talking about condoms in the 1980s or face masks in 2020?
It is so easy to draw parallels between the early years of the AIDS crisis and this first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the 1980s, HIV infection was a near-guaranteed death sentence, claiming over 700,000 lives in the US. In 2020 America, “only” one percent of the population is likely to die from COVID-19…a figure that may exceed three million lives. Many millions will recover from COVID-19, but it is believed that a third of them will suffer long-term health concerns.
Many of the questions in 2020 are the same as in the 80s: How do I get groceries? How do I pay my rent? Can I afford to treat this illness or will I go into medical poverty in order to keep up with prescription costs?
People mobilized. Just like people sewed quilts then, today people sew masks. Of course, everyone is feeling fatigue from our current pandemic. I bet advocates in the 80s felt that way sometimes, too. And as time passes, sometimes one’s focus on important issues gives way to distractions.
But we can’t get distracted. People still need us, whether to fight Covid or raise money to help with AIDS services. Proceeds from AIDS Walk Delaware: Weeklong Challenge—September 12-19 will support prevention and awareness, plus transportation, medication adherence, housing, and testing of people living with HIV.
So, let’s walk differently this year but still walk—in a nearby park, in your neighborhood, or on your treadmill at home—in solidarity with Delawareans living with HIV and AIDS, and to end stigma.
Let’s walk—knowing you’ve met or exceeded last year’s goal—for an end to HIV and for a healthy, HIV-informed community.
Let’s walk—this time with a mask to protect ourselves and others—in memoriam for those who simply wanted to live in peace and good health.
Join us. To end HIV in Delaware—and walk any day you choose during the Weeklong Challenge—visit AIDSWALKDELAWARE.ORG to sign up. Invite a friend to join you in a walk or to complete our scavenger hunt—socially distanced, of course.
AIDS Walk Delaware is a 34-year collaboration of AIDS Delaware and the Delaware HIV Consortium, along with participating AIDS service agencies statewide, including CAMP Rehoboth.