Join us today in honor of World AIDS Day at the MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center!
On November 7, 1991, Hall of Fame basketball player Magic Johnson shocked the world and announced he had tested positive for HIV, or as it is medically known, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Johnson’s announcement had the impact of a seismic earthquake in the collective psyche of America. His declaration was pertinent for a variety of reasons, most notably, for ushering into the fabric of the country and the world a new cultural shift; before Magic stepped to the podium on that fateful day and uttered the words “I have HIV,” the perception of HIV/AIDS was of a deadly disease that would never inflict a “hero” like Magic Johnson.
To be sure, there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS, but medical advancement since that infamous November day has been profound. For example, a variety of treatments options are available to keep viral loads low, so that the infection interferes less in people’s lives. Additionally, due to aggressive education in schools and community health centers, infection rates have decreased throughout many communities in the U.S. Other people and places around the world are not so fortunate, however. Rates of HIV/AIDS continue to increase in lesser developed countries due to a variety of factors like lack of education about the disease, lack of rights for women, cultural practices, and a booming sex trade industry.
Specifically, in a remote truck-stop town in Kenya called Mai-Maihu, nearly 1 of every 2 people is inflicted with the disease. In effect, hundreds of children grow up as orphans who then receive limited medical support or education – which are powerful techniques that could potentially halt the spread of HIV/AIDS.
In our community, the MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center has established the new SHARP program to improve the awareness about HIV/AIDS and bolster community-wide education. On Friday, November 30th, the SHARP team will be recognizing World AIDS day at the health center at 73 High Street. We will be handing out red ribbons and dispensing information about all the pertinent facts relevant to HIV/AIDS, as well hosting as an information table in the main hall from 10am-2pm.
Jack Kelly, a community health worker and Kate Otto, a data analysis specialist with the SHARP grant will be able to answer any questions you may have about HIV/AIDS. We will be providing continuous information about the impact of the disease in Charlestown. We encourage all members of the Charlestown community to consider getting tested at the health center.
World AIDS day is a great time to reflect on the tremendous accomplishments of the medical community concerning HIV/AIDS, but also a reminder of the work left to do.
With the SHARP grant, we hope to provide the Charlestown Community with additional resources, information, and services to ensure that Charlestown continues to be a healthy community.
We look forward to seeing you on Friday and encourage you to wear a red ribbon on Saturday, December 1st, in recognition of world AIDS day.