“On Josie Webb’s thirteenth birthday, her aunt gave her a book that changed her life. It was a volume of Maya Angelou poems. After Josie read “And Still I Rise”, she knew she didn’t want to be a…a ballet dancer, or a nurse; she wanted to be a poet. So, it was a proud day when she graduated from Hillman with a degree in English Literature in high honors. That was the spring of 1992. But the following spring, Josie Webb has died of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome: the disease we all know as AIDS.
I didn’t get AIDS from a blood transfusion, or by doing drugs. I got it by having unprotected sex with my boyfriend junior year in high school. I knew Frank was smart, fine, team star quarterback. Neither of us knew he was HIV positive. Lying in the grass on a humid night, looking up at the stars, you just know you’re going to live forever. Lying in the grass, it’s impossible to imagine that 5 years later you’ll be lying in a hospital bed with pneumocystis pneumonia and a few years to live. Nothing like an AIDS ward to teach you that youth is not immortality. More than anything, youth is the power to make choices. Now that I’m gone, I ask one thing of you. Remember always to choose life.” -Tisha Campbell guest-starring as a student living with AIDS.
In an interview on Oprah’s “Where Are They Now?,” director Debbie Allen revealed that the episode was almost pulled from the air (due to several advertisers dropping out). However, years after the episode’s original air date, the series was praised for being one of the first to publicly tackle the subject and foster an open dialogue about the epidemic. (x)
Every year I aspire to do good with Tarot and Divination. This year is no different.
For those who are unaware, my aunt passed away two years ago from kidney related complications resulting from the AIDS virus. She was everything to me. The anniversary of her death is approaching and it doesn’t get any easier. I have so many dear friends and family members here in NJ, Haiti and Tumblr who have been newly diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in the last year and I want to raise awareness to something that not only affects me, my family and friends, but so many other people around the world.
HIV and AIDS research is a cause near and dear to my heart.
Every 9 ½ minutes, someone in the United States is infected with HIV
Most new infections occur in people between 18 and 29 years of age
Every 33 minutes, someone in the United States dies from AIDS
Out of 100 people living with HIV in New Jersey, 53 are African American, 24 are Hispanic, and 35 are women
African Americans are more likely to postpone medical care, be hospitalized, and die from HIV-related causes
1 in 5 people in the United States are unaware of their HIV infection and transmit up to 70% of new infections
I have been away from Tumblr for the last couple of weeks because I have been doing in person donation readings so that I can donate money to Hyacinth, the HIV and AIDS foundation in Jersey City, NJ.
I have raised $150.00 in donation readings already. I want to do something good and get the Tumblr Tarot and Divination community involved.
All you have to do is reblog and like this post. That is it.
For every 100 notes this post receives, I will add $1.00 to the $150.00 that I already have. After September 12th, I will donate the money to Hyacinth and provide a master list of reblogs and likes of every user from Tumblr. I want to show the power of social media, the power of kindness, the power of strength and love that this community has for their fellow human being. After the donation has been submitted, I will choose three bloggers at random, and provide them each a one card reading from the ArcaneMysteries shop.
I want to show that we all can make a difference.
If you would like to donate to Hyacinth on your own, You can do so HERE.
If you have any questions about this #reblogforacause , feel free to send me a private message. I’ll do my very best to clarify anything that may be confusing for you. Thank you in advanced for sharing. It means so much to me!
Back in 1991, Magic Johnson, then 32, shocked the world and announced that he was HIV-positive. Living to middle age seemed all but impossible. Instead, Johnson has thrived, providing a vivid example of what’s possible when a person has access to the world’s best HIV/AIDS treatment. The sad part is that he is the exception, not the rule, in black America.
Brryan Jackson’s father injected him with HIV-tainted blood when he was 11 months old in a bid to kill him to avoid paying child support. By the time Brryan was 5, he was diagnosed with AIDS, and given only a few months to live. Today, he is over 20, and the virus has been undetectable in his blood for over five years.
David Flanagan recently biked from San Francisco to Los Angeles as a part of the LifeCycle fundraiser in honor of his son Joshua, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 28 after being diagnosed with HIV.
On this day in 1990, my uncle, Mark Baddeley, a DJ for Wiltshire Radio, passed away due to HIV-related illness.
HIV and AIDS have killed millions of people and continue to do so today, but they don’t have to, and you can help to prevent more unnecessary loss by educating yourself and others about HIV and AIDS, getting tested and donating whatever you can spare.
There are lots of educational resources in my HIV tag, but if you’re more of a learning through the screen type of person, here are some films and TV series I particularly recommend:
HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is an illness that is caused by a virus and transmitted through blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal and rectal secretions. The virus most commonly is transmitted when an infected person passes it to a non-infected person through open skin (cuts, needle punctures, skin tears, sores) or mucus membranes (sex, breast feeding). Transmission is best avoided by using condoms and by using clean needles for tattoos, medical procedures, and drug use.
The HIV virus infects T cells (also called CD4 cells), which are a type of white blood cell involved in the immune system. When it infects T cells, it uses them to make tons of copies of the virus. Eventually the new copies destroy that cell and go on to infect more cells. It essentially takes good soldiers and turns them into bad or dead soldiers. The more copies you have of the virus (viral load), the more T cells you destroy. (Medical folks: cringe with me a little bit at the inaccuracy of the pictoral representation of HIV below. Non medical folks: please note that the HIV virus is not bigger than your blood cells, and it does not look like pac-man, and T cells do not look like red blood cells.)
When a person has HIV and either doesn’t know it yet or knows it and hasn’t gotten treatment for it, the virus replicates quickly and their CD4 cell count drops over time.
As the viral load grows and the CD4 count drops, the person starts getting sick. At first they get nonspecific symptoms like fever, aches, headache, and swollen glands, so it sort of feels like the flu. But some people don’t feel sick at all until the disease progresses pretty far.
As the CD4 drops lower, the immune system becomes vulnerable to bacteria and viruses that a healthy immune system can fight off easily. So the patient gets “opportunistic” illnesses. When a patient has a CD4 count less than 200 and also has an opportunistic illness, then we say that they now have AIDS, which is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
In the US, it is recommended that all people age 15-65 be screened for HIV. There is an excellent explanation of HIV/AIDS (and is also the source of the images above) here. Tons more information on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention can be found here.
Along with a short story about a gay DJ set in 1985 and (the beginnings of) a novel about a woman with memory loss, I am the author of a play about the relationships between parents and children over the course of the past 50 years. My play, #kidsthesedays, has the most kudos and bookmarks of the 13,941 original works on AO3, is currently in the process of being made available in 5 languages and is set to be put on between now and this time in 2016 in Surrey, England, Sardinia, Italy and Illinois, USA.
I also received the Gertrude Schryver Prize for my work in English literature at Royal Holloway University of London this year.
I’m therefore offering editing and writing advice for plays, prose and essays in exchange for donations to any of the following charities:
I ask that you donate £1 for each two thousand words you want edited (so for a 10,000 word piece, a donation of £5).
If you would like your work edited and/or advice, please submit a screenshot of the donation confirmation screen for whichever of the above charities you prefer along with your email address and a link to your work (or, if you only have it as a file, just your email address so that I can email you and you can send me your work that way), along with any specifications for the editing/advice (e.g. if you would like me to focus on dialogue in particular).
I will send you an email containing an edited copy of your work (using track changes so that you can see what alterations I have made) and feedback as quickly as I can.