I will always remember living during the early 80's and hearing about the first reports of something called AIDS and HIV (the gay cancer).
I will always remember going out to the bars/clubs and mixing with friends, acquaintances and noticing in the coming days that some people were no longer around anymore.
I will always remember hearing of the first of my friends succumbing to AIDS and how it made me feel.
I will always remember going to get my first AIDS test with my good friend Bill and how scared to hell we both were going there and then waiting to hear the results.
I was so blessed to become a volunteer and eventually the office manager for "The Sharing of Hope" which was later to become, the Beaver County AIDS Service Organization; BCASO. I was one of the people of BCASO to plan the first ever AIDS walk in Beaver County Pennsylvania.
I am so happy to have helped in my little way to bring AIDS awareness to my community and to help those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.
The fight continues and the stigma of AIDS is still something we must overcome. Bigotry and hatred need to be made a thing of the past.
To those who have died, I hope that they have not died in vain. I hope that their deaths have brought light to those around them and I hope that their deaths will bring about change, understanding and compassion.