Editors' Note: Guest blogger Rebecca Berfanger is an Indianapolis native and has her B.A. (Ball State, 2000) and M.S.J. (Northwestern, 2005) in journalism. She has written legal and entertainment articles for print and online media, and volunteers for HIV/AIDS awareness groups in Indianapolis. Be her friend at the Indiana AIDS Walk's MySpace page.
With so much attention paid to HIV/AIDS around the world, it seems that the issue of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States or even in Indiana gets lost in the rest of the news. While it's wonderful that so much attention is paid to AIDS in Africa - I know and have a great respect for a number of people who have worked with the IU-Kenya project partnering the IU Medical School and the medical school at Moi University in Eldoret, as well as a recently started legal aid project and other partnerships that directly or indirectly assist people living with HIV/AIDS and their widows and orphans and caregivers.
But it shouldn't be that hard to convince people here in the Hoosier state that many of their neighbors - more than 10,000 people in the state - are living with HIV/AIDS and may need help paying for shoes for their children, making a rent payment, or paying a gas bill so they have heat this winter for themselves and their families. Not to mention the issue of who can or can't get insurance to cover the costly pills!
As someone who's been trying to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS since the mid-1990s as a high school student, I still find myself explaining that yes, people are still dying of AIDS even in the U.S., and yes, there is still no "magic pill" for people who get infected to just take once a day that is affordable for everyone.