I got up early on Sunday, I am talking 6am. I took the train into the city with Greg, a fellow POZIAMer. The train ride down to the city we talked and shared stories. It was a great way to start the day of the AIDS walk. Once we arrived at the Philadelphia Art Museum, where the walk took place we met up with Robert, another POZIAMer and then headed over to the AIDS Quilt. They display panels of the AIDS Quilt every year at the walk. A panel is created in honor of a family member or loved one that have lost their battle with AIDS.
I love that they alternate the panels around the US so you get to see different ones every year. When I viewed the panels this year I did a lot of thinking. I asked myself a few questions in my head. -Would someone create a panel for me? What would it look like ? Who would create it? I instantly thought of a family member that passed of AIDS. A 2nd or 3rd cousin of mine. I believe I met him once or twice but I was just a little kid but, I don't really remember it at all. I wish I knew more about him. Maybe one day I will find the courage to ask my family more about him.
We started walking around 9am. The complete 8.4 mile walk took us about 2 1/2 hours. It was great to walk with Greg and Robert. We had some great discussions and laughed the whole way. It felt like I hanging with old friends and not 2 people I just met. The 3 of us just clicked. While we were walking and talking I discovered that we had a lot things in common in regards to our pasts. Good people make good conversations.
|Greg - Robert B. - Robert|
FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS AND PHILADELPHIA
• Since 1981, over 600,000 Americans have died of AIDS.
• Every 9 1/2 minutes, someone in the U.S becomes infected with HIV.
• Approximately 20% of people infected with HIV do not know it.
• According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphians are being infected with HIV at a rate MORE THAN 50% higher than residents of New York City.
• The rate of infection in Philadelphia is FIVE times the national average.
• About half of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the U.S are not receiving medical care.