If Swine Flu Makes Us Use Masks, Why Can’t AIDS Make Us Use Condoms?

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  • Amount of people in the U.S. diagnosed with swine flu: 253
  • Amount of people in the U.S. diagnosed with AIDS: 468,578
  • Amount of people who have died from swine flu this year in the U.S.: 1
  • Amount of people who have died from AIDS this year in the U.S.: 5,000 (est.)
  • Amount of people worldwide who have swine flu: 4,600
  • Amount of people who have HIV/AIDS worldwide: 33 Million (est.)
  • Amount of people worldwide who have died from swine flu:
    101
  • Amount of people worldwide who have died from AIDS this year: 1 million

If swine flu is a “pandemic,” then what the hell is AIDS?

Despite all chatter to the contrary, AIDS remains the true, legitimate pandemic. In some parts of the U.S., the rate of AIDS in Black women is as high as it is in sub-Saharan Africa.

If the people who run the nation’s media really truly know the difference between an important story and a sensational story, they would still be paying as much attention to AIDS as they do the swine flu.

AIDS education and prevention must be a priority for this country. If swine flu can make people wear masks and wash their hands 10 times a day, shouldn’t AIDS make people wear condoms?

Maybe if the U.S. bordered Africa instead of Mexico we would care pay more attention to the real pandemic that is going on there. Health problems are global problems. We cannot ignore a pandemic because it affects a lot of people who don’t look like us.

SARS, avian flu and now swine flu. The media seem to go to great lengths to expose possible threats to our health rather than exposing the continuing and exponentially more deadly threat of AIDS. Is AIDS out of fashion now? While we must be on the guard for new viruses and diseases, we can’t forget about the ones that are still killing us.

Swine flu is covered by every newspaper, every news show and blog. When was the last time AIDS made the front page of a newspaper or the 6 o’clock news? Are diseases like movies? They come out, everyone gets excited, and then forgets about them a month later? Diseases are not entertainment. They are real problems that pose a threat to people across the world. As compelling and scary as a new disease is, we need to put things in perspective.

If AIDS could get some of the media attention and government resources that swine flu has been getting, we might be able to stop some of the thousands of AIDS deaths in our community. Simple things like education, condom distribution and testing could drastically reduce the amount of people with HIV/AIDS.

Reverend Calvin Butts recently spoke about AIDS in the Black community, saying, “This is more dangerous than the swine flu, and I hope that the country will recognize that if we can solve this, then we can move forward in addressing other health disparities.”

H.R. 1964, sponsored by Harlem congressman Charlie Rangel, called on President Obama to declare HIV/AIDS an epidemic in the Black community. Surely if we can spend time distributing gloves and masks for the swine flu, we can distribute condoms and brochures on AIDS at the same rate. Swine flu may get worse, or it may go away. But AIDS is as virulent as ever, and we must make sure it kills as few people as possible.

Show support to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, which strongly affects the African-American community. Learn more here.

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