World AIDS Day 2015

World AIDS Day 2015
Written by Ranae Aspen

Last night, true to my routine, I sifted through my stack of t-shirts that I wear for bed. I ran across my favorite World AIDS Day t-shirt that is well worn. I realized that day was World AIDS Day. Here is a link to the CDC and World AIDS Day, CDC World AIDS Day.

In a past part of my life, my brother in-law, Scott (ex, but forever my brother!) was diagnosed in 1990ish with HIV. If you think about the time frame, that is at the very beginning of acknowledging this terrible virus. I could write a novel on this but will shorten it. One of the things promised to Scott was that I would do my very best to be sure no one else close to me would have to ever deal with HIV and AIDS. Back then, it was a death sentence and the death itself was brutal. I made a promise and continue to do all I can to promote prevention of HIV.

I became a volunteer coordinator with Nebraska AIDS Project in Omaha.  Little did I know, this would entail a lot more than I bargained for! I remember sharing the story of Scott.  Some people were kind, others not at all kind. It took me a while to recover from each experience.

Recently, I posted the following article, Ending AIDS  and was met with the reaction that, “this is only a problem if you behave immorally.”

Wow, and we are now in the year 2015!

Here are some current facts close to home, right here in Nebraska:

1. 56 males and 5 females were diagnosed with HIV in 2014.
2. The age group with the highest occurrence of contracted HIV is from ages 25-44, 54% and ages 13-24 with 23% and then from 45-64, 21%.
3. While 64% of men contracted it with having relations with men, 60% of women contracted it through heterosexual contact.

**This is JUST Nebraska.

My thoughts: while yes, men with men contracting HIV still is the highest percent, we still have a high percentage of women contracting it through heterosexual contact. We are not called to judge others but to be compassionate and kind.

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

Take time to think about World AIDS Day and the mission to have zero HIV on our planet. It will only happen if we have true heart felt conversations and recognize that we are all human.

“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

About the author

Ranae Aspen

Ranae Aspen graduated from UNL/UNO with her BS in Consumer Science and Education in 1991and with her Masters of Applied Science in Ag Leadership and Community Nutrition from UNL in December of 2012. Ranae has enjoyed careers in the Health Food industry and in the field of Human Services assisting low-income families with self-sufficiency and nutrition.
She and her husband Dan have two children, Daniel, 15 and Leslie 13. Ranae and family live on a small acreage and they are establishing a fruit orchard, they garden. They share their acreage with their dog Sampson, numerous cats and chickens. Life is busy and Ranae’s passion for sustainable agriculture and nutrition is evident with her blog, Eating Healthy in a Tough Economy, h and in her daily life. Julia Child once said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” This describes Ranae, her passion runs deep and she loves to share it with the community.