One of my favorite groups is TLC. Their song, “Waterfalls,” was released in 1995. I remember hearing the song and listening to the lyrics. And in 1996, I recall listening to an interview during which the performers discussed the lyrics to the song and its relevance in bringing attention to the issues of illegal drug sales, promiscuity, and HIV/AIDS. The video was a poignant visual statement to help bring awareness to an illness initially considered the disease of those living alternative lifestyles.
HIV/AIDS, or human immunodeficiency virus, is considered by some to be a global pandemic. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) currently describes HIV as a global epidemic. As of 2018, approximately 37.9 million people world-wide have been infected with HIV and approximately 770,000 individuals died from AIDS.
Today, celebrities such as Charlie Sheen, Jonathan Van Ness, Magic Johnson, Billie Porter, Javier Munoz, and Danny Pintauro, are open about being HIV positive, which has significantly increased awareness and improved education surrounding the virus. Unfortunately, we’ve also lost celebrities to this disease: Rock Hudson, Freddie Mercury, and Eazy-E, to name a few.
“I’m not saying this because I’m looking for a soft cushion wherever I’m heading. I just feel that I’ve got thousands and thousands of young fans that have to learn about what’s real when it comes to AIDS.”Eazy-E
To learn more about HIV prevention and general education: Prevention | HIV Basics | HIV/AIDS | CDC
Marsha N. Lindsay
Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer