When I think of AIDS, I think about the time I spent as a chaplain at an AIDS clinic in Houston. I was expecting the place to be sad and depressing. What I found were a group of people who were strong and courageous; people who were not dying, but living.
One of the things that I notice is in "the normal world," when someone is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, the question that lies just below the surface is, "How did they get it?" But in the AIDS clinic, how you got infected was the last thing people worried about. The infection was a fact, all the whispers of sex or drugs useless. I am not saying that being informed as to how you can become infected is unimportant, but we need to move beyond the adolescent snickering.
My former brother-in-law is HIV positive. He tried to tell his family and then had to "recant" because his family did not want to acknowledge that he was involved in risky behavior. Because the family saw HIV as a "gay disease," the fact that my b-i-l used IV drugs couldn't even be considered. It is ignorance like this that helps to keep the disease spreading.
Get information. Get information to those who need it. Help our kids know that AIDS is real, it may not be on the front pages like it was when I grew up, but it has not gone away.
A bit rambling, maybe, but in the end, to paraphrase the motto of Act Up , Ignorance = Death.