Dear Mr. President:
It was my honor to vote for you in the 2008 elections, Not just because you are African-American or because you are a Democrat, but because you are the right man for the job. I know you have a very hard job, and get millions of letters each day, but I do send you this missive on a very urgent matter.
During the elections, I don’t recall hearing either side speaking about a matter that has been plaguing this county for over twenty years now. This matter is AIDS and HIV. According to the Center for Disease Control, someone is infected with the HIV virus every 9 ½ minutes.
This disease effects us all, Democrats and Republicans, African-Americans and Caucasians, here and abroad, man, woman and child. This disease has no shape, no color, and it doesn’t discrimate. It affects the rich and the poor and destroys millions of lives every year. There are over one million people infected with HIV, and some people that don’t even know that they are infected. This disease is truly a silent killer and destroyer of lives.
I admit that I would not be writing this letter right now, if a very dear friend of mine hadn’t told me that they had contracted HIV, from heterosexual encounters. Once I heard this, very recently, it touched me in such a way that I felt I had to do something about it. I am not to far from Washington, DC, which has a high rate of Americans infected with the HIV virus. According to Time Magazine, 3% of Washington DC residents suffer from HIV or AIDS…a figure that ranks as the highest in the nation and far outstrips the 1% benchmark at which a health issue becomes a “generalized and severe” epidemic.
This epidemic has plagued us longer than any war on terror that we have today. Imagine if we fought HIV and AIDS like we fight the war on terrorism, the progress we would make as a Nation. The body count is similar like a war. We are at war with HIV and AIDS and we are losing at an astonishing rate. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2006 an estimated 56,300 individuals were infected with HIV, and since the start of the AIDS epidemic, 1.5 million Americans have been infected with HIV and more than 524,000 have died from AIDS. African-Americans account for 48% of new HIV infections and AIDS is the leading cause of death for African-American women aged 25 to 34 and the HIV rates among Hispanic women are increasing.
Back in my old home town, Bronx, NY the story doesn’t get any better. According to an article in Time magazine (Dated Friday July 11, 2008), the borough’s death rate from AIDS is nearly ten (10) times the national average, which health officials attribute to the fact that about 25% of its residents only learn they are infected after the disease has progressed to full-blown AIDS. This is incredible!! We must come together and battle this disease as a Nation. We should not wait until a loved one is infected or dies from this terrible disease. Of course education is the key, but being pro active is a must.
Even as I type this letter and even as you are reading this, Mr. President someone has been infected with HIV and has died from full-blown AIDS. We must fight this disease like we are fighting the “War on Terror” for this terrorist is alive and well and has been living too long.
I urge you Mr. President, to push the fight against this horrible disease, and hopefully together we can find a cure. I want to take this time to thank you for reading this letter, and to thank you for all you do. I know being President of the United States can sometimes be a “thankless” job, but please know I do appreciate all you do God Bless you and your family and God Bless the United States of America.
Very Respectfully Yours,
Vaughn T. Aiken
Award Winning Author and Writer
My Soul is not for Sale