Why is AIDS still relevant 36 years after the first case was discovered in 1981? Why do we still need to care? Are people really still getting infected? Why is SMART Ride still relevant 14 years since its inception and over 20 years since the first AIDS bicycle ride took place in California?
There’s a pretty simple answer … 36 years from the CDC announcing the mysterious Gay Cancer, people are still getting infected at an alarming rate. Not me you say? Not my friends you think? It’s manageable you believe? I can take Prep and not worry? Wow our head just exploded!
Here are some interesting facts to share:
1 – Florida ranks No. 1 in the nation for new cases of HIV
2 – Broward and Dade Counties are the epicenter of new infections
3 – The group once again getting infected at an alarming rate are MSM ages 16-21 … our youth and our future.
4 – Taking Prep is great, but Prep doesn’t prevent other communicable and incurable diseases including (although not a disease pregnancy … maybe wrong audience, but we all do have sisters and brothers and cousins and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles, so pregnancy is real)
5 – NO ONE knows the long-term effects of taking prep for more than a decade. Remember, smoking used to be considered good for you. (Check out old ads on billboards, magazines, and TV.)
6 – People still die from AIDS, not just here in South Florida or around the country, but around the world. We can’t afford to lose the next generation of leaders, potential leaders, doctors, nurses, physicians, mathematicians, psychologists, and astrophysists. (OK maybe I’ve stretched the level there a little.)
AIDS is still relevant and SMART Ride is needed just as much today as it was 36 years ago. So grab a friend, dust off your bike, or borrow a bike and let’s get this show on the road. Literally on the road. Go to TheSmartRide.org to register, to ride, to crew, or to donate.
Note that the opinions expressed above are those of the author, and not necessarily reflective of the GLBX or the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.
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— Glen Weinzimer, Smart Ride Founder, Member of the GLBX Council