You Try Living on a Fixed Income

As President/CEO of PROJECT: MALE, it is my goal to deliver an effective HIV/AIDS prevention message to our target population (males 25 to 44yrs old) as well as the community in general.  In order to do this effectively, people must see themselves as being at risk for HIV/AIDS and that getting AIDS comes with consequences or else why should someone protect themselves from this disease.

In this article, I’m going to be focusing on the consequences of having HIV and/or getting AIDS.  While a lot of prevention efforts have focused on the health consequences of HIV/AIDS, I haven’t seen too many prevention messages focus on the economic downfall that a person has to go through because of HIV/AIDS.  I’m sure we all have seen and heard about the medical cost that are associated with HIV/AIDS but these have always been in a broad general sense; not something that an individual can take to heart. They have mainly been used for the sake of affecting public policy.  As an AIDS Advocate, I am to provide a voice to those who are being strongly impacted by the negative affects of this disease and also take these situations and turn them into an effective HIV prevention messages that hopefully all can relate to.  With that being said, I want to tell you all a story about a young man whom I shall call Person A to protect his identity and status.  Knowing Person A well, I am able to tell some of his story and he agrees that his and the lives of others living with AIDS needs to be heard.  Person A is a young man in his 30’s who lives on a fixed income.  Now normally when you think of fixed incomes, you think of the young single parent mother (usually a person of color) or elderly people not a young man in his 30’s.  But that is the case for Person A.  This young man lives on $800 plus a month.  Now for some folks, that just shopping and dinning out money but for him, that his life.  A young man cut down in his prime by AIDS.  Because of his AIDS diagnosis and other opportunistic infections, he was able to jump through the hoops and hurdles to get SSI and social security.  Oh, I should mention that just because a person has an AIDS diagnosis, doesn’t mean that they qualify for SSI or social security.  You have to have two other opportunistic infections on top of an AIDS diagnosis to qualify.  In other words, your limbs have to be falling off, you have to be hacking up blood, and you have to have a good doctor that is willing to report all that for you!  That al!   But seriously, after Person A has proven he is worthy, he now has $800 plus (which is not what he start out with) to live off of; to buy food, pay rent and utilities, and have some kind of social life.  Now that may not seem like much to do all that with but that’s what this person is going to have to deal with until he dies or until a cure is found.  This person is no longer a bread winner and can’t really get too far with the way these gas prices are.  And you think that’s bad, try multiplying this situation by a million.  That’s right, according to the CDC; there are approximately over 1 million people in the U.S. infected with HIV/AIDS; majority of them being male.  Not to say that every person with HIV/AIDS is living on a fixed income but you can see how this disease can have a major impact on our workforce and economy.  This is why PROJECT: MALE takes the time to invest in delivering a primary prevention message so that others don’t have to be like Person A, living on a fixed income.  So when you say that you don’t care about HIV/AIDS, you’re saying that you don’t care about others as well as yourself.  If you would like to know more about HIV/AIDS or PROJECT: MALE, please call us at (559) 268-1969 or e-mail us at [email protected].

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