AIDS: Public Health Crisis and/or Big Business Bonanza

I am going to write a disclaimer RIGHT from the start. This is NOT directed at every AIDS fund-raising event or party. There are MANY worthwhile events to give your money to in relation to HIV/AIDS, but I am speaking of other businesses, some gay some straight, who use these events for their own benefit.

Many years ago when hearing the word AIDS would send everyone scurrying like ants away from the person who even mentioned it, there was more of a sense of urgency to the rapidly escalating public health crisis.  The evening news showed photos of gorgeous men only to then show video of them and how they looked like they had been in a concentration camp in a matter of months. The downhill path was extremely rapid. With the advent of the new meds and the declaration that AIDS/HIV as  now being a chronic but manageable disease like diabetes the focus has waned. OF course what these glamorous ads fail to state in the large ( not fine print ) is the cancers, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes that the long term use of these medicines cause and oh yes, and death from these diseases that the meds cause. Fatal heart attacks, massive strokes leaving these people paralyzed with slurred speech;  liver, pancreatic, colon, anal and brain cancers which end up killing the person along with the day to day side effects that are in the fine print..but you get 20 or 30 more years maybe even longer if your body reacts well. The quality of the years; well only the people going through this can answer. I cant. I only know what I have seen and what I am seeing.

Well lets get to the events. Back when everyone was in a panic and the AIDS walks, dances, concerts etc began, so many businesses were giving away free food, drinks, prizes to the participants. If you proved you were a part of the event and completed it, you got all this worthwhile free stuff you would actually use as a thank you and some great food to nourish yourself after the long walk…FAST FORWARD to the present..

You walk 6 to 10 miles, go through the trouble and effort of raising all this money, walk in rain, shine or blistering heat, with many of the participants being HIV positive themselves and guess what? These establishments, some of them gay some not, throw after parties, but YOU have to pay for EVERYTHING. You get NOTHING but a guy announcing to clap for the participants..BIG WOOP DI DO. One of my friends who did an AIDS walk who is HIV positive himself for 13 yrs and HAS the nasty side effects of the meds to deal with every day told me he went to an after party but he saw everyone getting drunk and the food so backlogged and expensive that he left the party to go get a real meal in a place that was cheaper. That was a nice thank you for a man who has the freakin disease and who couldn’t even get a bite to eat after walking for 3 hours and feeling light headed and dizzy. Isolated incident? I heard the same story over the next 3 days from at least 20 others. OH,  and the establishment kept ALL the money they made from the after party.  The thank you party was for the establishment not for those who walked. They were thanking the walkers for dropping all that money in THEIR place.