Friday, March 9, 2012

Rock the Red Pump!


Oh, yeah.

Work it, girl.

Aren’t these shoes hot??  They are definitely my best “statement” shoes.  And that’s exactly why I’m wearing them today. 

March 10th is National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  In honor of recognizing this event, I have joined with the Rock the Red Pump Project to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS throughout the U.S. and the world.   So, I’m rockin’ my hottest pumps, and talking about how this illness is still a concern – especially for women.

Waaaayyyy back in the early ‘80’s, when I was but a young pup in high school, my history teacher assigned a research paper covering the current event of our choice.  Always the controversial one, I chose to research an up-and-coming news item regarding a mysterious disease that was killing homosexual men.  Yes, my friends made fun of me for focusing on the gay community (wouldn’t be the last time), but it bothered me to learn that something was killing these young men and no one knew what the cause was.  A simple, “it’s God’s punishment,” answer was not enough for me.  Unfortunately, in 1982, even after hours spent in the library researching the topic (no internet with the super-efficient Google search engine for us back in the Dark Ages), I was unable to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion about what was killing these men.

Just a few years later, in college, researchers had obtained enough information about AIDS (as it was now called) to know that this disease was not strictly relegated to the homosexual population.  They also determined it was spread through sexual contact.  Talk about putting a damper on college students’ lives!  College campuses everywhere embarked on AIDS awareness campaigns in an effort to educate their students about the dangers of unprotected sex, particularly “casual” sex.  Most of us took heed, and encouraged our friends to be smart – and at the same time respect their bodies – and practice safe sex.  “No glove, no love” became the slogan of the day among my girlfriends.

By the 1990’s AIDS had claimed the lives of thousands in the U.S. alone, and had become an epidemic.  We lost celebrities like Rock Hudson, Freddy Mercury, and Arthur Ashe.  But, when basketball legend Magic Johnson announced he had tested positive for HIV, EVERYONE took notice.  The disease had truly hit mainstream America and people got genuinely scared.  And researchers finally had the freedom and funding they needed to at least help control the damage done by this deadly disease.

In 2012 this disease is still a problem – even in the U.S. - and women comprise an increasing percentage of the population of newly reported cases.  According to the CDC, there are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and almost 280,000 of them are women.  Of the 15,000 new HIV infections reported in 2006, 9,801 were women.  Alarmingly, AIDS is the 5th leading cause of death among women.

In an effort to reduce these statistics, the Rock the Red Pump Project is working hard to continue to educate girls and women about the dangers of HIV/AIDS.  The number one way to prevent the spread of HIV is, of course, to refrain from having sexual intercourse.  But, let’s be realistic – humans have sex.  So, let’s take this a step further and remind each other to practice safe sex.  Use a condom.  Practice monogamy.  Get tested – early detection helps save lives!  Girls, be respectful of yourselves and don’t have casual sex.  It’s more than a moral issue: it’s a life and death issue now.

For more information, check out these statistics from the CDC.

When was the first time you became aware of the AIDS epidemic? How do you speak to your daughter(s) about this disease?

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