A common perception of AIDS today is that it has become a chronic and manageable disease. With the advent of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART), people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are living longer and longer and with a better quality of life. As a community of AIDS services organizations, this is something to celebrate.
However, what this portrait often misses are those people who fall through the cracks and for whom this story is not true. These are the people we serve at God’s Love.
Each day, members of the God’s Love staff and God’s Love volunteers see an intimate portrait of what it can mean to be a PLWHA today. Severe illness affects every part of a client’s life, from their jobs or lack thereof, to whether their children will be fed and make it to school on time. We see the daily struggle to manage HIV/AIDS when it does not want to be tamed. And so, we know first-hand the importance of continued advocacy for comprehensive services for PLWHA, especially in this changing health care climate. We must guarantee that vital care does not slip through the cracks.
Currently, there is no other source of federal funding that is specifically targeted to address the multiple needs of PLWHA, except for the Ryan White Care Act. Our goal is to be vigilant in the coming months, monitoring how health care reform will affect those we serve, and doing our best to advocate on our clients’ behalf and with our clients for the care that they so desperately need.
Today, we remember those that we have lost to AIDS as we pledge to advocate for those that surround us now, so that they will live to see many more December 1sts.