by Rosa Reyes
One important lesson that I have gained through the processes of learning about HIV/AIDS, has been that anyone can get infected with HIV/AIDS. In this epidemic there is no age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status and even if you are not infected with the disease you can still be affected. For this reason, I can see the importance of bringing awareness through The National AIDS Memorial Grove.
When I first saw the subject for this essay I felt I was not going to be able to write it because I did not feel connected with the topic- I thought that this could never happen to me. Through research and learning more about HIV/AIDS I have come upon the realization that this is not true, because teenagers are very susceptible to getting an HIV/AIDS infection—especially if we are not educated and aware of the seriousness of what an HIV/AIDS infection is and how it is transmitted. I have also learned that the more aware and educated I become about this topic, the more I can protect myself and the people around me.
Just learning how to prevent the infection of HIV/AIDS is a big step to decreasing the number of people getting infected. If our society starts to put more focus in sex education the risks of young adults becoming infected will be less. This will provide people at risk with the information and choices: of using condoms consistently and correctly, being honest with your partner, abstinence, or delaying the first time one has sex. HIV counseling and testing, not sharing needles and treating sexually transmitted infections that will then lead to the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Through all this, The National AIDS Memorial Grove plays an important role in bringing awareness to our community. The tragedy of HIV/AIDS brings people from different backgrounds together to learn and grieve with each other. It provides a sanctuary to those people who are going through the hardship of being infected with HIV/AIDS and to those who have had a dear one who has passed away due to HIV/AIDS. The National AIDS Memorial Grove also plays a vital role in maintaining public awareness of HIV/AIDS, as it reaches out to young people and brings them consciousness of this tragedy and its impact in our community.