hoedls haven
Where Nature is the source of all artistic expression

Monday, December 4, 2006

I distinctly remember the newscasts from the early 80s, announcing it as a "gay cancer." I also remember when the US government (specifically President Ronald Reagan) made first public mention of this growing disease. And as a college educator, I've tracked the course and escalating growth of this epidemic from that time.

We have more information and education than ever before on this emerging pandemic and still, it continues to ravage lives and families and communities.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a viral infection that progressively destroys white blood cells, weakening the immune system, which is the body's system of fighting infection. The final and most serious stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 million people in the United States have HIV infection or AIDS. AIDS is a significant cause of non-traumatic death in the United States among people aged 25 to 44.

According to a recent report generated by the World Health Organization, an estimated total of at least (minimum) 11 million people will die from AIDS from 2006 to 2030. In an optimistic future projection, if new HIV infections are curbed and life-prolonging medications are increased, 89 million people will die from this disease. And further projects predict that in the next 25 years, AIDS is expected to join heart disease and stroke as the top three causes of death worldwide with deaths totaling as high as 120 million people...

This information and these projections are not intended to put a damper on your day. As World AIDS Day (December 1) comes and goes, it is a powerful reminder of those who find themselves as today's Spotlight Victim and then, tomorrow are often forgotten.

It is a subtle reminder of those families and loved ones who continue on past the tragedies of TWA Flight 800, the Oklahoma bombing, and the World Trade Center/Pentagon/Pennsylvania... and so many more...

It is a poignant reminder of the victims of 2005 Hurricane Katrina, who are still recovering. And of the victims of 1992 Hurricane Andrew, who are also still recovering... and so many more...

It is faithful reminder of the thousands of men and women who have fallen in the line of combat in Iraq... and Vietnam... and Korea... and so many more...

It is a powerful reminder of the millions of victims to civil war, terrorism and violence across the globe... and so many more...

My friend, as we each prepare for a season of festivity and celebration, it's also helpful to remember that this is the season of Hope - hope that, as a modern Christmas song loudly proclaims:

No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Everyone should have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end

Forever woven in the mystery and miracle of the Christmas birth is an endless hope; a hope that was birthed forever into life on that dark night and planted deep within each of us.

My friend, it is a hope that lives on in our very actions to one another. Make a promise to yourself this holiday season to do some selfless act to help heal a heart that much more, to be a better friend, to assist what is right to prevail and love just a little more deeply.

Will just one selfless act change the fate of millions? That is the very message of the Christmas miracle. It was the birth to end all death. Celebrate it. Act on it. Hope for it.


© Copyright 2006 - All rights reserved