It's hard to wrap your head around statistics. So when I asked Robb Reichard, Executive Director of the AIDS Fund to make the AIDS/HIV epidemic real for me - he revealed that he lost someone recently to the disease. Death due to AIDS has become less common these days because of the treatments available. If caught early HIV isn't a death sentence. But there it was. A death due to AIDS. At the end of the interview I asked Robb to describe his friend so that we would have a sense of what the world lost in his passing. As he described how vibrant and alive his friend was in life - I lost it. Completely. Not tear wiping, misty eyed emotion but full blown, heaving sobs. For minutes as the recording continued Robb and my other guest HIV educator Terrie Hawkins came around to my side of the console and comforted me.
Eventually - I managed to pull myself together and realized Robb's words brought home the weight of the losses I've been living with over the past year. I've been to more funerals this year than I care to mention. Some were the unavoidable conclusion of the aging process but a number were from conditions that might have been treatable. We can discuss numbers all day long but when we talk about the people we lose - those numbers start to mean something. It all came flooding back - the loss to the world of people I care about - and for a few minutes - I just couldn't handle it.
Here's my interview with Robb Reichard and Terrie Hawkins of the AIDS Fund which is sponsoring their annual AIDS Walk/Run Sunday October 20th. J. Whyatt Mondesire and I will be broadcasting live from the Philadelphia Museum of Art starting at 6:30 AM. Oh - and I cut out the five minutes of gut-wrenching sobs - but I left the words I said immediately after as I finally caught my breath. Listen here.
For more info on the AIDS Fund Walk/Run - click here.
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