I am living through my second significant pandemic.
June 5, 1981 is the date of the first report of what we now know as HIV/AIDS in the United States – this was when I began my formal specialty training dedicated to what we now know was a pandemic. The negative impact of this pandemic on our community is now a known fact. In the infancy of this new pandemic, I see many similarities that are of concern.
These are some of the misconceptions we had then, and that we have now:
HIV — only White, gay males will get this; not Blacks.
COVID-19 — I’m not worried, as I am young, Black and healthy.
Both are infections of high risk behavior, not just groups. The behaviors that contribute to the spread of COVID-19, are not social distancing, not wearing a mask or not performing good hygiene.
HIV — I am not going to get tested. I don’t want to know.
COVID 19 – I am not going to get tested, as I don’t NEED to know.
You need to know, as it can kill you, AND you can unknowingly transmit it to someone else that can kill THEM.
HIV — A vaccine is on the way (1987).
COVID-19 — A vaccine is on the way.
REALLY??? HIV is 33 years and still waiting. COVID-19 (still praying).
I could go on and on.
Bottom line is, we need to learn from what we should have done better in the HIV pandemic.
Both are preventable, period… hygiene, distancing, masks, etc.
Get tested. If not for you, for those standing next to you. SAVE A LIFE.
“Silence ensures that history repeats itself”
“Can you hear me?”