The last time I walked in an AIDS Walk was 2001. How did I let ten years go by without lifting a foot to participate in an event that I had done annually for the ten previous years? It’s hardly a mystery where the first six of those years went – up in smoke as it were. Even though I didn’t start using crystal meth until 2004, there were other drugs on the way to that one. And with every passing year, the idea of spending an entire Sunday morning without doing any became less and less palatable.
But what about the last three years? What was my excuse for not doing it at all since I’ve been sober? Well, I’m afraid I’ve suffered from the same delusion many other people do – that because of the new anti-retroviral drugs available HIV/AIDS is not really a big problem anymore.
Returning to work in the HIV field (I do prevention now, previously I worked for a treatment education organization) has been a real eye opener. In the fiscal year 2001-2002, San Diego County received $2,963,935 for Education and Prevention. In fiscal year 2010-2011, that total was $490,151. I’m fairly math-challenged, but I calculated that the 10-11 budget was 16 percent of the 01-02 budget. YIKES!
I think we can all agree that preventing the spread of HIV is still a worthy objective. We can probably also agree that a dollar in 2011 doesn’t buy what a dollar bought in 2001. So I hope we can agree that there is a gap here that desperately needs to closing.
To that end, please consider supporting me in the Walk. You can donate here: p²’s 2011 AIDS Walk Page. It doesn’t matter how much. Every dollar helps. Thanks!