This is a re-post from Dec 1st last year, but it seemed an important memory to share, especially as I read this morning that the number of new cases of hiv has risen for the first time in years and is spreading primarily through heterosexual relations.
Today is World AIDS Day. I was reading an article about whether the Global AIDS crisis is overblown. It's an interesting thought provoking article, but one line just made me smile -
"Everybody talks about AIDS at cocktail parties," Oldfield said. "But nobody wants to hear about diarrhea."
Back in the 90s Churches in the U.K. did special services on World Aids Day, today it just seems to slip by almost unnoticed. I remember attending a service in Nottingham - I attended because a friend of mine was speaking. I recall sitting there and being aware that some of the people who were sitting across the aisle from me were living with AIDS. It was the first time I'd seen someone with the disease. It put a face to something I'd just heard talk about. Suddenly AIDS became much more real to me.
After the sermon they played the song 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables' from the musical Les Miserables, they played it in memory of people who had died from the disease.
As the song echoed around the church I began to see people sobbing over friends, colleagues and partners they had lost. I did not know anyone who had died from the disease, but the grief was so palpable I began to weep too.
It was at that point that AIDS ceased to be a 'homosexual problem' or a 'third world problem' instead it was simply a 'Human Problem'.