The Westside Gazette

What is stopping you from joining the fight against HIV/AIDS

February 7, 2016 was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

What is stopping you from joining the fight against HIV/AIDS

“The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.”    2 Timothy 1:16 (NAS)

By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

Here lately I’m beginning to feel like no one really cares about ending HIV/AIDS in this country in general, but most importantly, in particular the Black and Brown communities.

I feel this way largely because there is less attention being presented to where the disease is devastating the most; yes there is great lip service but nothing that contributes to cold hard facts in terms of cash and concerted efforts from the pharmaceutical companies.

There are lines of demarcations that have been established to indicate the Haves (Ones who are infected) and the Have Nots (Ones who have monies and programs) but are not sharing equally.

There are even battles occurring between agencies, care givers and advocates.

How can the battle be won when the soldiers are fighting against themselves?

Yes the army against the fight of HIV/AIDS is being killed by “friendly fire”.

I’ve been told that our local Health Department allowed a private business to serve in the capacity of administering to those infected with Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STD) and to have their office in the high rent district off of Las Olas Boulevard.

Now let’s be frank and open: how many Black people that you know will be willing to go over to Las Olas and be treated for an STD? Now transfer this type of thinking as it relates to HIV/AIDS.

They don’t care enough to ask those that are infected and affected the most!

I also understand that we have a building sitting right in the heart of Historic Sixth Street (Sistrunk Boulevard), a Black neighborhood on Northwest 15th Avenue. This building once was used to treat STDs and was the first clinic for treating HIV/AIDS. Now the building sits abandoned.

And just like that vacant building, so too are we left alone and abandoned.

So what’s really happening? Are we concerned enough to force our political leaders to address this issue of taking away an effective place and location that is user friendly and culturally sensitive?

How long will it take for us to realize that the only ones who really care enough about those of us who are affected and infected with HIV/AIDS are those who have not been ashamed to confront all aspects of this fight to eliminate this virus?

Don’t wait until the debilitating effects of HIV/AIDS cripple you or someone very close to you before you join in the cries for help while beating down the doors of frustration and cowardice. Sunday, February 7, was Black HIV/AIDS Day. What did you do to help eradicate this dreaded disease? Did you act like turtles, tucking your heads deep down in between your shoulders until you could smell the bile in your stomachs?

Don’t speculate only to realize that if you don’t do something now, who’s going to come and help you when it’s your turn?

Nobody else is going to.

Are we acting like ostriches, burring our heads in the sand wishing that this disease would go away and with each breath that we take, we fill our nostrils with putrid dirt, choking ourselves to death all because we refuse to help?

One would think that the Black community is being attacked from all angles and yet our Commander and Chief is AWOL (absent without leave), but in our case he has been granted the leave-to leave us alone!

Our churches, inundated with trying to address the spiritual aspects of its congregations and filled with us wicked beings, when asked to address the issues of HIV/AIDS, some of the spiritual leaders have the mitigated gall to say that “God has made them to suffer because of their se*ual choices – they too have to answer for their own inactions.

Now is the time for us to step up and help those in need while we still can. I would hate to find myself in a jam and look into the face of one who I refused to help and they were the ones who could now help me.

“Dear God never allow me to walk past a person infected with the HIV/AIDS virus as if they are less than human. My need to disassociate with them could very well be the death of me. Help me to realize that HIV/AIDS is not an alone disease.”     — Bobby R. Henry, Sr.

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