As World AIDS Day December 1, approaches, I can’t help to think about how “hard heads make soft behinds.” It just seems human nature for folks to defy directives. Remember Eve?!
It was about 40 years ago when many of us first heard about HIV/AIDS. We were initially told stories about the disease originating in Africa and only impacting gay, white males.
Well, you know human nature tells some of us to go on about our business because we are not going nor have we ever been to Africa and we’re not gay, white, or male.
Fast forward, others are getting infected and many are dying.
Folks are told to use condoms, along with other safe-guards deemed appropriate for protecting yourself from contracting the disease. Using condoms, not reusing or sharing needles are just a few measures that were encouraged.
Did people listen?
Clearly some didn’t as cases increased significantly and especially in certain communities where there were no pre warnings!
Actually, according to UN-AIDS, 1.5 million [1.1 million–2.0 million] people became newly infected with HIV in 2021. 650,000 [510,000– 860,000] people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2021.
And if you were lucky, those not practicing protective sex measures came away with a negative HIV diagnosis but instead, a baby, or two or three. What a relief, you said!
Fast forward to 2020.
There’s another disease: COVID 19. This time, to prevent the spread, folks were told to do something they shouldn’t have had to be told: wash your hands with soap! They were also told that masks help with the spreading of the contagious disease.
Some immediately began wearing masks and still do, almost three years later; while some went to the grave, unfortunately protesting against and refusing to wear a mask or get the vaccine.
Then in 2022, yet another disease and other variants of COVID 19 were shared. The dreaded Monkeypox had folks spreading the same alarm that was initially spread with HIV/AIDS.
What happens with these sometimes false narratives is that some communities begin preparing to protect themselves while others are late to the party and miss key opportunities to get ahead of the devastation.
Which brings me to my truth.
Folks like Imara Canady, and the AIDS Health Foundation, are doing the work that the Democratic Party could learn from. Canady realizes the importance of boots on the ground and meeting people where they are with the correct and relevant messaging.
He realizes that it is time out for assumptions and you can’t take anyone for granted.
You have to get your message out and you have to make sure you have the right messengers delivering that message.
For decades Dr. Pamela Blackwell Johnson and others, like Abounding Prosperity, around the world have been educating us on HIV/AIDS. Still we have new cases!
I’m worried about what a democracy looks like when the folks don’t listen and refuse to take heed to those important messages.
There’s going to be another pandemic and another and another because these societal ills seem to mutate a lot quicker than any other thing we have had to face.
If we want a better world, if we want to eradicate some of the ills that are threatening our very existence; we have to stop acting like children and begin listening and adhering to these oh so important messages. We also have to do our own research, rely on science and follow educated directives.
If not, then it’s our behinds!