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Can We Conquer the Last Mile?

Can We Conquer the Last Mile...?

With all the new flus, viruses, fungus' and such, I will say, I think we can conquer AIDS/HIV. We seem to forget or want to forget that AIDS/HIV is still ongoing. 

I remember when people were dying from an unknown virus. The stigma still hangs in the balance. I've known, and eventually treated children and adults with AIDS or who were HIV positive. 

I actually have been trained in AIDS/HIV more than oncology. I understood the pitfalls of cancer research and fundraising. It was disheartening. But AIDS/HIV research and fund raising had a clearer more progressive approach. 

I also knew that I was unafraid of the virus. I knew to touch the infected. It was and is imperative for their survival, as well those around them and society. 

In the 1990s as I walked down a city hospital hallway where pediatric AIDS outpatients existed. I was scolded for not wearing gloves by a nurse I'd never met before nor after. She witnessed me sitting with a crying child with AIDS on my lap, before his pick-line was to be renewed.

I realized tears and urine would not give me AIDS. She with all her earlier medical education was still responding as if we were in the early to mid 1980s.

My husband and I had been reading up on it since the early to mid-1980s. We realized the masses wouldn't handle this well, neither socially neither psychologically. It was before either one of us knew anyone who had this unknown virus.

Before I started my therapy business, I worked in the accounting and financial fields. Yet, I and my husband were into the sciences. He more into the absolutes. Myself more on the outer limits. He'd point out three decades into our marriage that I was the 'what if?' in the marriage.

I was told that Magic Johnson had it, before it was publicly announced. I was stunned at first. Then not. 

The few people outside of medicine I spoke with in the 1990s still believed it was only going to effect someone they didn't know. I told one quite religious man, "It's coming to a theater near you... That's the truth." Two years later he called my home phone, crestfallen. It had hit close to home for him. It shook his belief system.

I gently explained, 'No one is to be condemned. When you condemn without understanding you undermine science. You undermine our very existence. So now you understand condemnation without understanding is illogical. Too, certainly not helpful. And it is painful.' Then we prayed together on the phone for the people he knew.---Jody-Lynn Reicher 


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