The AIDS epidemic that cursed western nations in the late 20th century was an emotional and devastating experience for hundreds of thousands of people. Many thousands lost their lives to the disease and all of their families still miss them to this day.
The revelation of AIDS in the 1980s caused panic. The disease was previously unknown. Scientists were slow to understand its nature. AIDS seemed to target male homosexuals and those of all genders who share intravenous hypodermic needles to inject the new drugs like heroin. At the time, homosexuality was on the fringe of society. It was not accepted as mainstream. In much of society, homosexuality was considered illicit behavior. When AIDS struck both homosexuals and intravenous drug users at the same time, it cemented further society's idea that homosexuality was indeed a fringe behavior and a bad choice.
As the years wore on and the death toll rose, the public's idea about homosexuality started to change. Scientists began to understand the AIDS disease and learned it was not transmitted by magic to the gay and IV drug population. It could also be acquired through blood transfusions and other exchange of bodily fluids.
As valued members of mainstream society began to die from the disease, the attitude of society softened. The public was shocked to learn that movie matinee idol Rock Hudson died from AIDS. Music rock star front man Freddie Mercury lost his life as did professional tennis legend Arthur Ashe.
In time, scientists developed medications that could slow the growth and spread of AIDS. The healthcare industry focus heavily on education. They promoted healthy behavior. Governments and private health care organizations distributed free condoms and free sterile needles to try to stop the spread of AIDS through unsanitary practices.
By the early 21st century, AIDS was under control in the western civilized societies. Those who were living with AIDS were doing just that - - living. AIDS slowly disappeared from society's radar screen. But the silence of society's blare does not mean that AIDS has been in cured. It will likely always lurk and wait for unhealthy practices.
To keep awareness present, many health care groups continue to preach the values of safe sexual contact, blood transfusions and IV drug practices. AIDS awareness Day continues to be celebrated each year.
The Chicago AIDS Prevention Society purchases personalized sunglasses each year from Shades of Fun. Red sunglasses, of course with a different slogan on either side arm. They use them as part of their staff's uniform and as promotional theme giveaways as well. Many years ago, the color red was chosen to symbolize AIDS. It is the perfect choice for any aids prevention or awareness group for their message.
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