The Awareness Gap
On Nov. 7, 1991, America was jolted by the news that basketball legend Magic Johnson had contracted HIV and would immediately retire from the sport.
Almost immediately, Johnson began taking the antiretroviral drug AZT, and his health quickly improved.
Just three months later, Johnson returned to basketball to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, where his performance earned him the MVP award.
His fans and supporters were delighted by his triumphant return. And through Johnson’s experience, mainstream America began to understand that HIV infection was no longer an automatic death sentence, but a largely treatable, chronic condition.
We are fortunate that during the past two decades there has been great progress in the treatment and care of people living with HIV/AIDS. With early detection and increasingly effective treatments, Johnson’s story is now just one of many high-profile examples of how people can manage their HIV and live long, productive lives.
But while proper treatment for people with HIV has become much more available and effective, only 25 percent of Americans with HIV are receiving it.
At the same time, people born after AIDS first emerged in 1981 are now most at risk of becoming infected with the virus. This sad fact highlights how important awareness and education is as we mark World AIDS Day Saturday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV infection rates are increasing for Americans between 13 and 30, and most of the new HIV infections reported in this country are among people under 30.
It is so important to ensure that all people — especially young people — are aware and educated about HIV/AIDS prevention and the availability of effective treatments.
Let World AIDS Day remind us that about 56,000 Americans become infected with HIV each year, according to the CDC, and that more than 14,000 Americans from AIDS die each year. The CDC estimates that nearly 1.2 million Americans are living with the virus, and that about one in five don’t know they have the virus.
Regularly testing people of most at risk for HIV — and then providing antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients — dramatically reduces the number of new infections.
Preventing HIV is not complicated. If you’re sexually active, get tested. Don’t use IV drugs or share needles. Abstain from sex or practice safer sex. With preventive care, patients and their health care providers can fight and manage this disease and slow its spread.
As was the case with Magic Johnson and other courageous Americans 20 years ago, we can’t allow today’s more effective treatments to make us complacent or ambivalent, or to lessen our resolve to find a cure and an AIDS-free generation.
To learn more or to find a place near you to get tested, visit www.actagainstaids.org.
~ DR. SAM HO, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, UNITEDHEALTHCARE
Rick (Cole) … is correct (“Rick’s two cents,” Nov. 8). The Pasadena City Council needs to be paid a living wage so they can actually spend their time serving the people, as opposed to hoping their one aide does. Paying them a real salary will not allow them to be tempted to make sweetheart deals with developers and corporations hoping for post-elective compensation.
~ STEVE LAMB, ALTADENA
Keep things separate
It’s important to understand that separation of church and state, rather than weakening the practice of religion in America, is a critical, distinctive principle protecting our free practice of religion, as it was intended to be. The following quotes express this more eloquently:
“The constitutional principle of separation of church and state has given Americans more religious freedom than any people in world history. Around the globe, those suffering under the heavy heel of government-sponsored religious oppression look to America’s church-state model with longing. The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is America’s bulwark of true religious liberty.” — Rob Boston, Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
“When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some.” — Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun in the Lee v. Weisman ruling, 1992.
~ TOM MOORE, OJAI
FROM THE WEB:
Re: “The way up,” Nov. 8
Randy (Jurado Ertll), you’re an inspiration to others. Keep fighting your cause. No one will stop you except you. You have come so far and should share that strength with people that want a better future, as you did and do.
Re: “Pregnancy and exercise — let’s get real,” Oct. 25
Love the Life column. Great way to learn about the very interesting people living in Pasadena and the great services they offer.
Re: “Water, water everywhere,” Oct. 25
After reading the article, I think you make some good points regarding what to do with the water when you are out in the field. But otherwise, I do not believe that distillation is the best process. Reverse osmosis is by far the superior water filtration technology as this process removes everything, while distillation can sometimes leave things behind that can be seriously harmful like elemental chlorine and radioactive particles.
~ ADAM M
Re: “Strange bedfellows?” Oct. 18
Joe [Brown] is no different than [police Chief Philip] Sanchez. They’re both trying to maintain their status and position, just like every other political position. Joe caved, he’ll regret it. Sanchez is incompetent and runs around with both fingers crossed. In the meantime, the majority of the officers are doing a great job, no thanks to these idiots.
Re: “Saving Altadena,” Sept. 13
The two proposed Wal-Mart Neighborhood Stores will be just less than 30,000 square feet, not 15,000. They will carry 60 percent grocery and 40 percent “other,” including a pharmacy, pet food and care, stationery, greeting cards, and school and office supply. All of these categories compete with nearby businesses.
In our Best of Pasadena edition, we published an incorrect Web site for one of the winners in the Reader Recommended category for Best Realtor. The Web site for Pete Whan of Keller Williams Realty is