Have you guys seen the Dallas Buyers Club yet? Well, you need to get on the ball and see it. Pronto. The movie tells the story of Ron Woodroof and how he started the Dallas Buyers Club to sell drugs to AIDS victims who had no other recourse. Here's why I think this movie is important. Ron was a typical blue collar guy. He worked as an electrician, went to rodeos, and liked his booze and women. In his world, homosexuals were "faggots" and AIDS was a gay man disease. His world changed drastically when he was diagnosed with AIDS. His story is not just about finding better drugs to combat AIDS and providing those drugs to others at a time when there was nothing but AZT (poison). His story is about breaking past prejudices in sexuality and prejudices in the disease itself. Ron Woodroof learned the hard way that AIDS is not a "gay man's disease". Something else pertinent in this film is the importance and power of education. Sure, many of us know how HIV is spread now. But do we really? There's a moment in the movie after Ron's diagnosis where he's in the public library doing research on HIV and AIDS. He comes across an article on the transmission of HIV. It's pretty tough watching the revelation come across his face, the flashback to that evening of sex with that girl with the track marks on her arms. But we know this stuff now. We know how this disease is transmitted. At least I believe there's a generation of us who know how this disease is transmitted. Those kids coming up into sexual maturity these days, I'm not so sure about. Suebob recently posted this visual of maps and sexual education in this country on her facebook page and I have to tell you, it's pretty alarming the things we are not willing to teach out children.
There are more states in the union that do not require sexual education than states that do. And just wait until you see the map of states that do have sex and HIV education, but that do not require the education to be medically accurate. You will throw up. At least I did. DO NOT REQUIRE THE EDUCATION TO BE MEDICALLY ACCURATE!!! Are you kidding me? A lot of the sexual education curriculum being taught to teens are lessons that are demeaning to women (implying that a girl who has sex is used and dirty, shame on you Oxford MS) and are not teaching the real medical dangers of unprotected sex.
The CDC estimated that the number of new HIV infections was around 12,000 in individuals between the ages of 13-24 in 2010. I think this intolerable, particularly when we know how this disease is spread. I believe that we can do better. I believe that we can raise a generation that sees zero new cases of HIV and have healthy sex lives. This is why I raise money for the AIDS Walk every year. Money raised for the AIDS walk not only goes to help care for victims and research. A portion of those funds go to education and awareness. Just the walk itself brings awareness that HIV and AIDS is still a very real and prominent disease.
With your help and generosity, I have reached my fund raising goal and then some for the AIDS Walk. I cannot thank you enough and I cannot fully express how much it means to me to have your support. Each donation makes me think that YOU believe in that generation of zero infections. So thank you. I said that I'd sent a print of choice to each person who donated and I will be contacting you guys shortly with how to proceed with that. In the meantime, check out the links to my Flickr page and Instagram page on the right hand side of my blog and start thinking about what you may want.