Archive for the ‘Sweet Tooth – Issue #15’ Category

Dine Out! Save Lives!

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Dine Out! Save Lives! Baton Rouge’s newest event joins a national campaign to raise awareness and funds to assist those living with HIV and AIDS. By now you’ve heard the news: Per capita, Baton Rouge has more people living with AIDS than any other major city in the country. So it’s appropriate that a local agency, HIV/AIDS Alliance (HAART), has joined the nationwide Dining Out for Life campaign.

On April 25th get your friends and family together to support a great cause, while enjoying some of the best food that Baton Rouge has to offer.

There are more than 5,000 of our friends, neighbors and family members in the Baton Rouge area who are living with HIV infection or AIDS. One-third of those are women. There are about 300 new cases of HIV diagnosed each year. Most acquired the infection through unprotected sex, not realizing the risk they were exposing themselves to. Sometimes, even though they were faithful, their partner wasn’t,  and the disease is most disproportionately affecting the African-American population. 85% of those diagnosed with HIV last year were black. But it’s not who you are; it’s what you do. So keep your wits, choose carefully, ASK their status then wrap it up anyway. Get tested asap if you “forget”.

For free confidential HIV testing, call HAART at 927-1269, or come by our office at 4550 North Blvd, near BRCC. No appointment needed. Don’t forget — Stay Safe!

Dine Out for Life with HAART on April 25th at Bistro Byronz, California Pizza Kitchen, Mestizo, Monjuni’s, and Stroube’s. Learn more at www.diningoutforlife.com or www.haartinc.org.

How to Survive a Plague

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

How To Survive a Plague is an eye opener. It’s a look at the early days of the AIDS epidemic, from the point of view of the ordinary people (gay, straight, white, black and otherwise) who rose up to meet the challenges faced by a plague that was ignored by the U.S. government (presidents Reagan and Bush I are culpable here) while it was greedily exploited by the pharmaceutical industry (Burroughs- Welcome, we’re looking at you).

Director David France has unearthed an astonishing amount of video footage from the time, and its grain, saturated color, and hand-held unevenness bring a stark immediacy to the times. We watch people who are driven by desperation and compassion as they come together and form the activist organizations ACT UP and later TAG. These people rose together to their challenge and ultimately overcome the obstacles before them. We are eye-witnesses to their meetings, their actions, and their lives. We see the full tragedy of the disease, but also the hope and strength that came with this grass-roots movement.

How To Survive a Plague is a triumph. Not only is it a compelling historical document, but it also works as a reference manual and an inspirational shot-in-the-arm for current and future activists. In a time (fast-forward to now) when our government fails to fulfill its basic responsibilities, when corporate greed is apparent to all yet still runs unchecked, when increasing scarcity and callousness toward the poor and the sick are presented as our only options, this lesson is one that we should all heed.

The Same Hand

Monday, March 18th, 2013

A life time, an eternity of passing days

Of moonlight, sunrises, and rising tidal waves

Of butterfly kisses, hits and near misses

Of truth or dare, good- byes, and good wishes

Of sweet dreams, bedtime and desperate prayers

Of strength, weakness, knowledge and blank stares

Of hands held and whispered secrets, quiet laughter

Of patty cake, skinned knees, and children’s chatter

Snatched completely away with cruel irony- one positive

Nothing seems able to face this pain: God nor medicine nor will to live

Plans seem to fade away, faint becomes your heart

How can life be over before you had a chance to start

To yell into the wind, smile into the sun, run into the ocean

To love into the night, to live, to leave moments open

To say I have time, to put it off until tomorrow

To take people for granted, to make stupid mistakes, to loan, to borrow

Instead, you must fight an uphill battle, hoping against hope

That someone will find the key to reverse the tides and allow you a chance to coast

Drowning-flailing- gasping for air, grasping for a lifeline

A chance to believe that you’ll be more than a memory- a space in time

Willing to give anything to go back to patty cake, skinned knees, and children’s chatter

But today doctors, meds and cell counts are all that matters

To return again to where you began seem too much to ask

Promising only in mirrored rallies, “HIV will not get the best of me”

We can only watch on proudly, prayerfully, hoping for your victory

Unbeknownst to us your quiet battle, silent raging wars, held on rigidly to your quiet dignity

As we hope to never admit we are the same, having walked the same legacies

Being spared as blessings or luck would have it, no soapboxes on which to stand

We were all dealt the same hand

20th Century Crusade

Monday, March 18th, 2013

February 27, 2013

Kaposi’s Sarcoma:
opening salvo in AIDS’ war.
Lightening crackled
from Cardinal
O’Conor’s altar;Jesse
Helms snarled:
government’s puppets
preached from pious pulpits. Fear’s
poison swirled in the air;
riots in the streets
of Manhattan, San Francisco,
urban strongholds. Civil
disobedience reigned
supreme. ACT UP Activists’
anger, incendiary
fuel born of disease’s
death sentences, exploded
into action. Anarchists
transformed into legions
of Knights Templar. Modern
soldiers sought Holy
Grail of “The Cure”. Warriors
didn’t halt until FDA
approved
Anti-Retrovirals:
death’s knell quashed
by promise of
life.

Reverse the Order

Monday, March 18th, 2013

A slightly scruffy mid-thirties young man, bright, smiling ever ready to substitute for me in carpool. Bound for San Francisco. His eyes twinkling when he tells me goodbye.

A young medical professional postponing marriage for a year; waiting after being nicked by an infected needle.

A young man, who lost everything, when he told the truth.

Two, thirty years dead, lie moldering under gravestones weathered by years.

The other still soldiering to help those infected.

Victims, all three, of a disease that leaves the living destroyed; shunned of humanity, devoured by mutant germs, feared by all, accepted by only a courageous few. Compassion deemed holy only for the saved, not the dangerous. Sinners become saints, the timid become lions, the halt become fleet when humanity matters.

Plagues surface phantoms never dreamed in our psyche. Those layered strictures we think ourselves free of until fear shoves them under our noses. Behavior we would deny, like Peter, if asked and be equally, with Peter, wrong. Turn over a germ and find reprehensible behavior that persists until science runs up the white flag of defeat and we can breathe easy again. We put all our inhumanity to man back on the tip-toppest shelf again and hold out our hands to those we would have run from before. Plagues come and plagues go; each ending is the same.

Perhaps the next plague can take a different course with mankind reversing the order and putting man’s inhumanity to man on the tip-toppest shelf first.

GYT

Monday, March 18th, 2013

April is Get Yourself Tested month. For those of you who don’t think about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) very often – here’s your wake-up call. There are an estimated 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections per year, an increase from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) previous estimate of 19 million per year. The majority of the new STIs occur in young people between the ages of 15-24.

The bad news: Louisiana has some of the highest rates of STIs in the country and Baton Rouge ranks #2 in number of new AIDS cases.

The good news is STIs and HIV can be prevented. The key is: Get Tested. Get Talking. Be Safe.

At Planned Parenthood we’ve committed these six words to memory and helped thousands of Louisianans access the care they need to stay safe and healthy.

You owe it to yourself to take time this month to talk with a health care provider and your partner about getting tested for STIs and HIV. Planned Parenthood provides confidential and affordable testing plus accurate information and counseling on safer practices along with a long list of essential reproductive health services – all right here in Baton Rouge.

Everyday, our health care providers see women, men, and teens from all walks of life who want to take charge of their health. In fact, one in five women across the nation trust Planned Parenthood because we deliver high quality, affordable health care without judgment. We care no matter what.

So, what are waiting for? Get Tested. Get Talking. Be Safe.

Visit us online at www.ppgulfcoast.org. 

Pestilence Descended

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Pestilence descended

upon once dewy downy heads
of vigilant mothers’ angel babies,
leaving in its cruel lightless wake
unfathomable tears, endless prayers
lapping at unfamiliar blurry shores
which not so long ago provided
sanctity and security to those
who lived and loved there.
Devastating news

came in cruel result of “positive”
to shake those women’s worlds
and they feared there was absolutely
nothing they could do. No turning back
the clock’s raping hands to make their
precious children whole, no lazy lives
of endless hopes, no bedtime stories.

Sweet dreams were snatched from wailing
mothers’ babes nurtured so well, but what hell
had not counted on was maternal fury, so was
blindsided by a raging fight as mommas smooth
and wrinkled gathered, gnashed their teeth, lashed
together all dashed hopes of their wounded angel
babies. The fairer sex stood fortified, weapons
drawn against flanking political machinations,
against hulking pharmaceutical dawdlings,
and against every Goliath obstruction

until the plague was decimated.
Their babies no longer lost,
hope was born again.