Category Archives: World Aids Day

World AID’s Day and in case you didn’t realize, it’s still an issue.

So, here I am again, another year later, trying to figure out what to write that’s different…that will make people pay attention to something that I’m still not sure why it’s so important to me.

I mean, it should be important to everyone. Finding a cure, helping those already infected and figuring out how to educate people so that new infections slow and finally stop…that should be a priority for everyone who considers themselves to be a decent human being. This is a disease that doesn’t discriminate. If you aren’t safe, if you don’t take every precaution, you are at risk. It doesn’t care who you are, if you are straight or a member of the LGTBQ community. It’s doesn’t care about gender or race or monetary status. If you share needles, if you don’t use a condom, if you don’t take the available medications, if you don’t get tested so that you know your status then you are taking your life into your hands. And the lives of anyone you are making a part of these at-risk activities.

For a long time, my interest and concern was more global than personal. I didn’t know anyone who was HIV positive but I do now. Friends I talk to almost every day and so now my heart is invested and maybe that’s more than enough reason to speak my bit whenever I get a chance. So here’s a link to a place that will help you find help in your Canadian community, but of course a quick Google search will find you help in just about any country in the world.

You want a few statistics? 37 million people are HIV positive world-wide. Almost 2 million of those are children under 15 who were most likely infected in the womb, during childbirth or from breastfeeding. Most people who are HIV positive come from low to middle-income countries, particularly in the third world. Only about 60% of people who are HIV positive know their status. That means there are a whopping 14 million people out there who don’t have a clue and that’s more than a little scary.

Another happier statistic? There are about 18 million people who are accessing antiretroviral therapy drugs that will hopefully give them a chance at a better life.

I don’t claim to be an expert on anything, especially on HIV and it’s treatment or prevention. But I know that studies are showing that PrEP and Pep are saving people’s lives and I know that it’s a step in the right direction.

I know that there are a lot of people out there who will help you if you are looking to stay negative and there’s a lot who will help you if you are HIV positive. But you have to look for that help so please, do what’s best for you and get whatever help it is that you need.

I could post a lot of links but each country has its own resources and I think if you are reading this post, you know how to use a computer enough to go looking.

The last thing I know is that if you are HIV positive, I am your friend, your advocate and your shoulder to cry on. I would hug the stuffing out of you if I met you and would love to sit down and hear your story.

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So, you have a few questions about AIDS Walk 2016…

I know what you’re thinking. She just blogged, like a couple of days ago? What could she possibly have to say already? It’s usually month between blogs posts, unlike real life, where I never shut the hell up!

But, I just announced the other day that for the first time I’m participating in the 25th Annual AIDS Walk and Superhero run in Edmonton and I’d like to talk a little bit about that.

Every year I do a post on December 1st for World AIDS Day and I always try to explain why it’s so important to me to bring awareness to those around me. I probably do a terrible job at putting into words why I feel so strongly about it, but my feelings about the whole situation grow stronger every year and I’m finding myself looking for other ways to show my support for people who are HIV positive. I had no idea that Edmonton did such an amazing event every year, let alone for the last 25 years!

I get a lot of questions these days. Why do I write books where the two main characters are both men? Why do I attend Pride (and take my kid with me)? Why do you worry about things that have nothing to do with you? Why are you being so weird? Are you gay? Are you HIV positive?

You wouldn’t believe the things people feel free to ask you when they are hiding behind a computer keyboard and have no fear of any consequences (or any manners either) and while I’m under absolutely no obligation to answer any of them (as far as I’m concerned anyway) I’m willing to answer some.

Why do I write m/m romance books? Because it makes me happy. It lets me show my support for the LGBTQ community in a unique way that also lets me express myself creatively. I’m insanely proud of being published and I will never regret finally giving in and submitting my first manuscript to my publisher.

Why do I attend Pride? Once again, it lets me show my support for a community that has shown me nothing but kindness and understanding and I truly believe equality is everyone’s right and going to Pride lets me see how it could be in a world where discrimination and bigotry wasn’t tolerated. Why take my kid? Because I want her to grow up in a better world. Someone once said “be the change you want to see in the world.”and so taking my daughter and educating her is one of the ways that I’m doing that.

Plus, Pride is a whole lot of fun. Being surrounded by people celebrating who they are is one sure way to find a bunch of joy for yourself.

Am I gay? Nope, definitely not. However, I don’t have to be gay to know that there are terrible things happening to people for no logical reason what-so-ever and be outraged by it.

Am I HIV positive? Also no, but I’ve never had cancer or diabetes or MS either and still managed to find a way to support the people who are living with those diseases and the people who love them.

Why am I being so weird? Honestly, I guess weird depends on your point of view. I think I’m perfectly normal and you wanna know a secret? A big one?

I’m kind of selfish because in finally letting myself express my feelings about so many things I’ve always believed in but been too scared to say makes me feel better about myself.

Being good and kind and doing the right thing makes me feel good about myself, even if every once in a while, someone manages to push a button or two resulting in a long rant on my blog about why I do what I do.

And for the last question…why do I worry about things that have nothing to do with me? Because I believe we are all stuck living on this great big world of ours and I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to be the best human beings they possibly can. And I think too many people don’t realise they aren’t as unaffected by what goes on around them as they think they are.

So, there you go. It’s just me trying to be a better person and make the world a better place for my kid in the ways that I can.

So, that being said, if you wanna support me then click here on the clicky thing and take a look: “clicky thing”

BTW, a little side note to my handsome and wonderful nephew. I know the walk is on your birthday and I promise to make it up to you with the dinner and dessert of your choice whenever you want it. I hope knowing that your Aunty is doing something to help people will help you forgive me for missing your big day.

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Filed under AIDS Walk Edmonton, I'm so excited!, Pride, This is important., World Aids Day

It’s World AIDS Day Once Again.

So, I looked back on my post from last year on this day. Not much has changed, I’m even working on the same story, although its almost done now.

I tried to explain to someone today why I feel the need to write about this issue and I had a hard time finding the words. I think back to the 80’s when the epidemic seemed to sweep through the western world like a brush fire. It was everywhere, on the news, in the papers but the first time I heard of it, it was being called “gay cancer”. I was horrified by the term and something told me that it wasn’t right, but I was too young and foolish to go looking for the proper answers.

I was stupid back then. I wasn’t always safe. I was convinced in my early 20’s that no one I knew or could possibly meet would ever be infected. I didn’t hang out with IV drug users and to my knowledge, I’d never actually met anyone who was gay. I was living with a false sense of security that makes me cringe with embarrassment when I think about it. I was on the pill so I didn’t need to worry about being pregnant, right? Sigh, like I said, stupid.

If my daughter were to behave like that, I would beat her over the head with medical books until she realized the error of her ways. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hoping that she will learn from my mistakes. I showed her pictures of the AIDS Quilt Memorial today for the first time. She was shocked at how big it was and once she realized what it was, she got a little teary-eyed. She also love the idea of the quilt and thought it was an amazing way to remember someone you loved and lost to this terrible disease. If you’ve never seen it, check it out here!

I remember seeing the Ryan White story back in 1989 and thinking that if only the governments of the world had moved sooner and taken the precautions that were necessary, then maybe that little boy wouldn’t have gotten sick. So many people died because of the fear and arrogance of government officials who decided that a disease seemed to target gay men wasn’t something they needed to worry about. You can read more about Ryan’s story here.

I didn’t realize how bad it was until “And the Band Played On” came out in 1993. It was based on a book by Randy Shilts and as I watched it, I grew horrified at how the gay community had been treated and how all the trusted institutions allowed it to run rampant. People were scared…too scared to talk, so many gay men still in hiding from the discrimination they faced on a daily basis. So the disease kept spreading because it’s hard to help people who haven’t yet figure out how to help themselves. I recommend this movie to anyone who wasn’t around to see the way this whole thing unfolded. You can find the book here and the movie is available on Amazon as well.

The good thing about HIV now, is that it’s not the death sentence it used to be. First of all, it’s preventable. PReP is a medication that seems to be stopping the transmission of the disease and while it’s not a cure, it’s a great start. You can find more information about it here.

And there is Antiretroviral therapy (ART) for people who are already infected. By taking their meds and living a healthy lifestyle, people who are HIV positive are living almost normal life-spans. There are many who think that a cure is not only possible, but probable and coming a lot sooner than most people think. I hope they are right.

Unfortunately, the stigma that is attached to being HIV+ is still going strong and I’m amazed at the misinformation that people still have in this day and age. You can’t get infected by hugging or kissing or touching and I can promise you, that you’ve probably met someone who is HIV positive and you don’t even know it.

So, go and check out the World Aids Day site and get informed here. Because I’m Canadian, I’m spreading the word in my own country and so you crazy Canuks can check out this site.

And for everyone’s sake, get tested….knowing your status is the most important first move you can make. Something like 60 percent of the people in the world who are HIV positive have no idea. That means they aren’t getting the treatment they need and they are spreading the disease unknowingly. Scary thought isn’t it?

I guess I still didn’t find the words to explain WHY this is so important to me. I wish I knew. I just know that for a very long time, it’s something that caught my attention and I want to do anything I can to spread the word about HIV awareness and to help end the stigma attached to it. I’ve always been known for sticking my nose into things, so maybe this is a good way for me to use that “unique” skill set that I have.

And I guess I care because people are still dying and it’s something we all should care about.

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Filed under This is important., World Aids Day