I’m not going to JournalCon. I do not get to go to Austin and have fun with people I know. I don’t get to drink with reckless abandon and sing Karaoke too loudly and watch Allison give me that look she gives me when I’ve done something I should be ashamed of. The look is followed by a slow, stern head shake from side to side, and then a slow, whispered, “Pa-aam.”
So instead, I have signed up for the AIDS Walk.
I haven’t done one of these since I was in grade school, and that one was rained out, so it doesn’t count. I wanted to do something with the JournalCon weekend, as it would have been memorable if I had gone to Austin, that would be equally memorable here in Los Angeles.
So I’m going to walk.
I’d like to encourage all of the JournalCon attendees to sponsor me so that they can party all weekend long without guilt. Does this mean non-JournalCon attendees can get away with anything shy of murder that weekend? Yes, it does. Because here’s what you get for your super-cool tax-deductible donation:
- Guilt-free living for this month. You totally did something good and you can be proud of yourself. Gosh, you’re a swell person. You care about people, and it shows.
- Karma points for helping fight a disease that has no cure.
- Finally ridding yourself of the guilt for never donating a book to Oakland (it can be cheaper than a book, you can sponsor for as little as you want).
- Fat Grams do not count the entire weekend, due to sponsoring me in the AIDS Walk. I promise to burn calories not for me, but for you. You get a weekend pass, all the Weight Watchers points you want, all potato chips are fat free and French Fries are mandatory.
- People will think you’re sexier. You’ll smell better. You’ll have that something-something that makes you look taller, thinner, more confident, and irresistible.
- Did I mention I’m the only one who has to get up early and go walking? You can stay in bed all day, and know that you’ve done something good.
- Your friends will be impressed.
- Once again you’ve used your Internet powers for Good and not Evil.
- It’s good for you.
Of course, it’s hard not to help, when faced with the facts.
- Nationwide, 1 in 4 new HIV infections occur in people between the ages of 13 and 20.
- Approximately 1 in every 300 Americans is HIV positive.
- Worldwide, 33,400,000 people are infected with HIV. Of those 1,200,000 are under the age of 15.
- In 1998,there were an estimated 40,000 new HIV infections in the US.
- AIDS is the leading cause of death of African-American women.
- There are an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 people currently living with HIV in the U.S., with approximately 40,000 new HIV infections occurring in the U.S. every year.
- Since the beginning of the epidemic, 448,060 deaths were reported through December 2000, including 381,611 among men and 66,448 among women. Of these, 206,909 whites, 158,892 Blacks, and 77,698 Hispanics have died from HIV-related causes.
- During the mid-to-late 1990s, advances in HIV treatments led to dramatic declines in AIDS deaths and slowed the progression from HIV to AIDS. However, in recent years, the rate of decline for both cases and deaths began to slow, and in 1999, the annual number of AIDS cases appears to be leveling, while the decline in AIDS deaths has slowed considerably.
- Better treatments have also led to an increasing number of people living with AIDS in this country. This growing population represents an increasing need for continued HIV prevention services for HIV-infected individuals and for treatment and care services.
- More people are living with AIDS in the U.S. than ever before.
So please sponsor me at this ugly-ass website (for donations under $25, see below). I put down a modest goal because these are some hard times we’re living in, and you’ve already helped rebuild a home for my friends and put books on the shelves of Oakland libraries. This is something I wanted to do that involved me actually leaving the house. (Sponsoring means a one-time tax-deductible donation, not a per-mile thing.)
If this is something you want to fight for, if this is a cause you believe in, I want to walk for you, to represent you, to show that we haven’t forgotten that there’s so much more to do in the fight against AIDS.
For donations under $25, please click the button below to donate through PayPal, where I’ll transfer it in one lump sum to the AIDS Walk account.