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Welcome to the International Carnival of Pozitivities Rick’s Published ,Arkansas Gay History Blog

Monday, July 09, 2007

  Welcome to the International Carnival of Pozitivities Rick’s Published
Current mood:  bouncy
Category: Life

Welcome to the International Carnival of Pozitivities
The 13th Edition is hosted by the Editors of ScribeSpirit – July 9th through August 10th, 2007

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We’d like to dedicate this edition of ICP to our friend, and the founder of ICP – Ron Hudson.  His dignity and strength can, and should be an inspiration to all. 

In 1991, I accepted a job at a summer stock theater working as the box office manager.  One of the best parts of this job was getting to enjoy the abundance of artistic beings that people a theater.  Theater is ALL art – from costumes, to set design, lighting, sound design and actors.  The first show produced during my time at this job was “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”.  This was a big production – the cast numbered over 24 singing and dancing actors.  Each night after the show, the cast would all get together in either the common rooms, around the firepit, or on the beach.  There would be laughter, song, impromptu performance…  there was joy, beauty, and there was moonlit romance.

In 1992, I happily signed on for another season at the theater.  Much to my lasting dismay, many of the actors that I had gotten to know the previous year did not return for another season.  In my first year at the theater, six of the people who had been there the year before were dead – all victims of AIDS.

In the past 15 years, more of the people I came to care about have died from, or been infected by AIDS.  This is just in my little corner of the world.

As the years pass and politicians make promises that are not kept, the world acknowledges that HIV/AIDS is the pandemic that we have all feared.  There are few lives in this world that have not been affected by the presence of AIDS.  Movies have been made to tug at the heartstrings of the young.  Activism has grown, education is promised, drugs are developed; yet AIDS is still with us.  Like cancer in the 60s – when it was whispered that so-and-so had the ‘big C’, the word ‘AIDS’  is still whispered – and often, not spoken of at all.

Sex is not about to end because of AIDS.  Young people do not consider their mortality – and they are not getting the education and materials they need to avoid HIV/AIDS.  It is hubris to think that because a government or an adult preaches abstinence that young people will listen.  Hormones speak louder than do any politician, church or adult.

AIDS threatens to depopulate large areas of Africa.  It threatens to destroy the economies of developing countries, as well as destabilize economies elsewhere.  It steals mothers and fathers away from children.  It is preventable with education, with condoms, and with realistic views of monogamy.

Just over a year ago, when Ron Hudson founded the International Carnival of Pozitivities, I waited for this chance to host the ICP.  Too many lights have been extinguished from my life for me to ever keep silent about AIDS.  It is with great sadness, and much honor, that ScribeSpirit hosts the 13th edition of ICP. 
Wouldn’t it be grand if in the near future, the ICP would tell stories of the “bad old days” when AIDS ran rampant and drugs for treatment were not available to all?  It is a goal – a lofty one to be sure, but we, all of us, can contribute something to that goal – we can use each day to spread the word and educate others about how to put an end to AIDS. 
  ~ Jody Kuchar, Founder and Managing Editor, ScribeSpirit

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The Visual Arts Editor for ScribeSpirit is Vivi-Mari Carpelan.  Vivi-Mari shares the following with us:

“AIDS is not a huge problem in Finland because of the small size of the country and the relative efficacy of the promotion of safe sex since the early 1990’s. As in all Scandinavian countries, the attitudes regarding sex and related issues are not too hush hush, and the impact of religious attitudes is definitely much slighter than in more conventionally Christian countries such as the United States. Nonetheless, Finland always tends to be a bit tardy in applying reforms as compared to its neighbouring country Sweden (well known by everyone for its democratic spirit). From what I hear, young people do know about the perils regarding unsafe sex, but are not conforming to it as much as has been expected. Due to the small percentage of cases of HIV infection it is also an ailment that is, ironically, not all that much talked about, and thus becomes one of those things that aren’t necessarily considered a plausible risk in peoples’ lives. I think that most people who enter a new relationship get themselves tested, though, especially if they have had relationships with foreigners. I personally don’t know of anyone who has the infection. As for medical care, national health care is reasonably efficient on a very basic level, but any condition that requires expert help may require wealth or  insurance that was taken before the onset of the illness. I would imagine that patients with HIV, just as others with “low status illness” diseases such as myself, have to battle for their rights to correct medical treatment, but the scope of the problem is probably lesser than on the somewhat infamous medical arena of the United States.”
When hearing about ICP edition 13 being hosted here at ScribeSpirit, Vivi-Mari sent to us the beautiful charcoal drawing you see here.  The title of this poignant piece is “Claude”.
For me, “Claude” reflects the desperation and isolation often felt by people who suffer from AIDS, or learn of a newly Positive HIV status.  Vivi-Mari’s artwork can be seen throughout this edition of ICP.

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Jolen Casper, the Literary Editor of ScribeSpirit, bares her soul on the topic of Health Care in the U.S.A. vs England, big pharmaceutical companies and AIDS:
In a system where the huge pharmaceutical and insurance companies have millions of dollars to make on any given day, why is it that people complain about ‘abuse of the system’ by the poor, ill, and elderly?

Surely, if there is widespread abuse of anything, it is by these corporations that, under the guise of serving the public, profit huge dollars and tout the favor of the elected officials like a courtesan serving a favored patron.

I have lived for forty-five years as an American, and I have worked all of my life. I worked three jobs at times while raising a family alone. When I had insurance, I still paid a percentage of the bill and when I didn’t have insurance I paid it all. Now, I have several medical problems that require a great deal of medication and care. That this is incredibly costly comes as no surprise, that I often was unable to pay for either at times shouldn’t either.

Very few companies provide decent insurance coverage for their employees and the ones who do, are decreasing what they cover and increasing the deductible as well as the co-pay. How does your average working family get by if someone becomes seriously ill? Well, the truth is, often they aren’t able to.

And if they aren’t able to, then often the state becomes involved and has to help provide for medications that are expensive. Then you’re informed about how the poor or ill are abusing the system that is being called in because of the laws allowing these companies to gouge prices of medical care and get away with charging exorbitant prices for medications that people must have.

  *1) Let’s look at AIDS medication and treatment for a minute. At the close of 2006, there was an increase
  worldwide of reported cases to the tune of 4.3 million. That’s a lot of people needing drugs that are not
  only costly, but also often inaccessible.

  *2) Recent developments have led to an increase in the medications prescribed for AIDS patients. This
  will lead to: difficulties with compliance increased cost, increased drug interactions and toxicities.
  In-hospital use of 98 antimicrobial agents during the first 6m of 1990 and 1993 were compared. Results
  were expressed as the mean number of patients on a given drug per day. Pharmacy records of 
  consecutive patients admitted to an AIDS unit, oncology service, and general medicine were compared.
  All medications prescribed were grouped into four categories: anti-virals, anti-bacterials, 
  anti-mycobacterials, and others. Results: Antimicrobials were used in 788 patients per day in 1993,
  compared with 600 in 1990 (a 31% rise). When 17 medications identified as being related to AIDS care
  were analyzed, a 313% increase was noted (from 54 to 223). Other antimicrobials accounted only for a 
  3.5% increase in use (from 546 to 565). A mean of 6.1 antimicrobials were prescribed to each AIDS
  patient, compared with 1.7 in the oncology patients and 1.2 in the medicine patients. When broken down
  into groups, each of the drugs showed a higher frequency in the AIDS patients. Other medications were
  also given more frequently to AIDS patients (13.1), than to oncology patients (11) or internal medicine
  patients (5.9). AIDS patients require more medications than other groups traditionally thought to consume
  large numbers of drugs.

In a system where free enterprise is allowed to spin out of control, there is no limit to what the companies can charge for their “product”.  I was made acutely aware of how drastically different it can be under socialized care this past month.  Having recently moved to the UK, I had to have some prescriptions renewed here. For a three-month supply of one of my medications in the US, I paid $700.00.
For the same medication in the UK, a one-month supply, I paid the equivalent of $12.50. Multiply that by three and it still only amounts to $37.50, or approximately 5.36% of the price I paid in the states.

My answer to the complaints of a system being abused is simple. Nationalized health care.

*1) Stats from Avert.org and CDC
*2) excerpt from NLM Gateway

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The first submission for the 13th Edition of the ICP was created and presented by Medicins Ans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders, and dramatically shows how the snowball effect is used to illustrate how silence and acceptance is impacting life in Africa. 
YouTube Public Service Announcement
If you scroll down to the comments for this video of a public service announcement, you might, like I was, be shocked to see how young people today have been force fed the denialism that perpetuates HIV/AIDS.

“Entangled for Life”, Collage and Mixed Media, by Vivi-Mari Carpelan
© 2007

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Shawn Decker submits the next entry to ICP 13.  Shawn’s own work shows how the effects of a positive attitude gives a HIV+ life an inspiring and uplifting force.  Speaking at the Waynesboro High School graduation ceremony, Shawn gave this message to the attendees:  “No one is guaranteed a finite amount of years to live, and I’m not sure if we get more than one go at this life.  I’ve tried to make the most of my time, and my hope for all of you is that you do the same.  Embrace what makes you different, its why your friends love you.  Embrace what makes them different from you, because that’s the one thing that unifies all of us.”
Read the  Commencement Speech for Waynesboro Class of 07  by Shawn at MyPetVirus.

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“Compassion without action = Death”
These are the words used to end an inspiring post by Michael Emanuel Rajner, one of the contributors to the Blog to end AIDS.  In Michael’s post, called United and Fighting Stigma as Community,  he writes of  “…activists throughout the state of Florida joining in Solidarity to condemn the words of hate expressed by Florida Representative Dr. D. Alan Hays (R-lake County) to representatives of Positive Healthcare, when he stated that his gay cousin deserved to die from AIDS.” 
Collaboration and cooperation are two tools which are unbeatable when it comes to fighting any oppression.  We salute the members of the Campaign to End AIDS (C2EA-Florida) for joining together to urge Congress to support the Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA).

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From Jack Hampster & Company comes a post called “Ventura to L.A. (60.8 Miles, 4,693 ft)” , about Day 7 in the AIDSLifeCycle Ride.  After reading this post, I feel like the worlds biggest wimp – I’ve walked the 5K AIDS walk both in Wisconsin and in my current home state.  It wore me out and my feet required loads of rubbing afterward.  Yet here is one person in thousands who braved 7 days on a bicycle to raise money and awareness for and about AIDS.  What stuck with me after reading this post was this:
“we go to the closing ceremonies?
we ride in, there are thousands
we hear how much money, we raised to help others?
we are reminded of our losses, but because we ride, “they” live on? in our hearts, in our minds?”
Ride on Jack Hampster!

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A post by Lyr on the Aids Combat Zone addresses a national concern among the Navajo Nation.  ‘Navajo Nation AIDS Awareness’  tells us that;
“…the Navajo Nation faces many challenges in promoting awareness of sexually transmitted infections, including how to relay to traditional healers that HIV and AIDS are not non-Native diseases…”.
In the silence of a vacuum, AIDS stalks everywhere.  Let us hope that the Navajo peoples can reach out to tribal members to prevent any further growth of HIV/AIDS infection within their communities.

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  “The Threat”, by Vivi-Mari Carpelan, Mixed Media, © 2007

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From Warrior Scout of KickinTina, we read about ‘Shame or Pride?”, and the doubt of being corporately sponsored.  In light of the substance abuse that is prevalent in marginalized society, do we need to be “…sponsored by companies and corporations which peddle alcohol or pharmaceuticals, or are run by and for people who have nothing to do with the ‘credo’ of the rainbow flag?”  Warrior Scout brings up a good point – how many public and/or art events do you go to that are sponsored, or have a presence by companies that sell their products?  Every now and then, we find that activism is not funded by anyone other than entities which are interested in promoting their own self interests.  Open dialog with Warrior Scout; there must be a better way for not for profits and grass root activism to be financially supported.

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Tony Hoagland won the 2005 Mark Twain Award from the Poetry Foundation, for humor in American poetry.  After recently reading ‘Barton Springs’ in the July/August 2007 issue of Poetry Magazine, Ron Hudson was so touched by Mr. Hoagland’s poem, that he wrote to him – the result is this Guest Writer post on 2sides2ron. 

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The Hope’s Voice Tour introduces young people with AIDS to the general public at stops across America.  The individuals who ride the Hope’s Voice bus, speak about AIDS from first hand knowledge – and it is their intent to educate and give other young people a true identification of the face of HIV/AIDS.  This singular project intends to reach out to young people with the reality of a population living with AIDS.  Thanks to Ron for finding Hope’s Voice – Living with AIDS. 

“When Heaven Met Earth”  by Vivi-Mari Carpelan
Mixed Media on paper.  © 2007

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Julianna of Moonbeamonstillwater has sent us a photo of the Irish Taoiseach (equivalent to the American president), Bertie Ahern with two activists from Stamp Out Stigma and Christian Aid, organizations in Ireland fighting to overcome the stigma of AIDS.  She also writes eloquently of the compassionate response of the Irish people to the suffering of AIDS victims worldwide in her post ‘Ireland”.

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Rick Harris, owner of Rick’s Place blog brings up some thought provoking and interesting points in his post
‘The New HIV/AIDS Myth – Disease and Drug Free (D/D Free)’.  “As a person with Internet access to all types of sites, I often find my self viewing personal ads for one reason or another (honestly, usually prurient interests). Whether it is more prevalent in the Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, or Heterosexual community I cannot say. What I can say, since I am an HIV+ gay man, is that I see a Dangerous Deception creeping back into the local and national community.”
Rick points out that there is Double Denial in the listing of personal ads in which the person doing the promoting claim to be disease and drug free.  What constitutes a ‘drug’ – or for that matter a disease?  If one is promoting their HIV status, unless they are tested after each  encounter, it is impossible to know from day to day one’s HIV status.  Disease is a word which encompasses more than HIV status.  Can a diabetic claim to be disease free?  Can a person taking insulin claim to be drug free? 
“The self-promotion in such ads clearly indicates to me others are becoming less concerned with consequence than with conquest once again (or did that ever really change?).”
These are challenging questions in this day of computer dating and single lifestyle.  Questions which all of us need to ask ourselves.

Also from Rick’s Place, this link to a poem by Richard O. Harris titled ‘Lets Not’. 

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Dr. Dave Wessner writes on his blog The AIDS Pandemic about President Bush imploring  “…Congress to extend PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, for an additional 5 years and allocate an additional $30 billion to the program. Initially proposed in the President’s 2003 State of the Union address, PEPFAR targets HIV/AIDS treatment in 15 countries with high HIV/AIDS burdens.”
In his post ‘Bush advocates $30B for PEPFAR’,
Dave goes on to write:  “The plan cannot, however, be considered an unqualified success. Approximately 30 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone are HIV positive. Providing treatment to 2.5 million of them is not enough.”
PEPFAR is loaded with restrictions:  all of which seem uneffective, the AIDS community, and the world community can not be satisfied with these measures.

“Balancing Act”, mixed media on paper, by Vivi-Mari Carpelan
©2007, V.M. Carpelan

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Last summer, at a cocktail party attended by some high profile attorneys and business people, I brought forth the question as to why Hate Crime Legislation had not been adopted in the state where I live.  The most common response to my question was “How can we know what is or was in the mind of an individual as they committed a crime?”  Although I did not like this answer, I realized that unless a person who has committed a crime admits that they did so because of hatred, there is really no way to know what a person thinks as they do harm to another.  Brian Finch of AcidReflux has proposed some interesting and similar views in the post: ‘June 21/07Thursday Editorial’.  “Disclaimer: In all cases where people act irresponsibly, I believe it is wrong. However the point here is that this irresponsibility is always put on the shoulders of the HIV positive person. I believe it falls on both.  Secondly, In the world of HIV positive vs HIV negative, those who are negative have all the power. They can, and have blackmailed HIV positive partners by threatening to go to the police with false accusations (this has happened to a couple of women) or go to public health, or police without blackmail and make false accusations.”
Can or should consensual sex between adults hold one person more accountable than another in the event of unprotected sex?  How can we know what is on the mind of a person when they do not disclose their HIV status, aren’t aware of it, or when a person consents to having unprotected sex with a casual partner?  Who is responsible for the transmission of AIDS?

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Brian at Blogswana.org  posts  ‘A Continent’s Response Part III: The CHGA Interactive Ethiopia’.  The CHGA is The Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa.  Responding to what is being called the Pandemic in Africa, the CHGA has been gathering facts at the devastation brought to the economies of hard hit African countries.
“HIV/AIDS related morbidity and mortality, particulariy the death of adults, leads to a disruption of indigenous intergenerational transfer of agricultural knowledge.  African cultures are grounded on oral traditions, and skills needed to sustain rural livelihoods are learnt on the job. Interactive participants were concerned that in the hard-hit communities, those that were supposed to pass on these skills fall ill and/or die, and crucial knowledge and skills are lost.”

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Cereal Killer has posted a mysterious piece of prose called ‘GRRL’  on his pages at MySpace.  This bit of
‘you -are-there’ non fiction captured my sense of the feeling that creative people often have with feeling out of step with the rest of the world.  ‘GRRL’ is a short piece, and I have decided to give nothing away here in ‘teasers’.  Just read the piece in the quiet of a moment and feel time collapse on itself.

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Anuridha Alam of Bangladesh is the Assistant Director (Information and Development Communication) for the Bangladesh Extension education Serivces (BEES).  As a guest writer on 2sides2ron, Anuridha writes about
‘Gender Equality, Beacon of Hope for AIDS Prevention’.  In her post, Anuridha writes:  “Gender equality, a well-defined by-product of human development, always entrenches inclination on how to focus attention on women empowerment. Simultaneously women empowerment confronts challenges consecutively in translating the responsibilities to gender equality into action. Gender discrimination is the prime source of endemic poverty leading to skyrocketing HIV prevalence. With a view to making gender equality a reality as a core commitment, women empowerment has to be the stepping stone to sustainable development.”
When gender inequality is the standard, which it still is in much of the Indian sub-continent, and women do not have control over their own physical body, AIDS has a welcome mat laid out for it.

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Miss Empowe(RED) contributes a tribute – to her deceased grandmother in  ‘Belated Tribute: From Grandfathers to Mothers, and Granny’s to Baby Daddy’s I love you all….’

As we all are promised nothing more than this very day, Miss Empowe(RED) takes this opportunity to show the love when she writes:  “… My sister, aunts, all around me didn’t do anything out of the ordinary because the one mother that meant the world to us was no longer here for us to hug and spoil with cards, food and gifts as we had done so many times before. Ardelia, my granny… I wish you a Happy Mothers Day… I know that I am late, but you know how I am. I remember it crossing my mind, what I would have gotten you…”

It costs us nothing to tell those who we love, that they have all of our love.  When you live as HIV positive, the telling takes on an urgency that can not wait.

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You’ve been sitting here reading ICP for hours; your shoulders ache, your backside goes numb, your eyes feel full of grit.  Get up!  Stretch!  Then come back and read Chiromom’s Soap Box advice on ‘5 Techniques to a happier YOU!’  One thing is certainly true, regardless of how you feel when you get out of bed in the morning:  “Smile for no reason and enjoy this beautiful day!”

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Our next submission for this ICP comes from HIV Health and Support Network Community News (HIVHSN), who hosted the 12th Edition of ICP, and was honored as being chosen feature carnival on June 15th.  James Wortz has posted a wonderful article about  ‘Mindfulness and HIV’.
“Mindfulness is a Buddhist term that means just what it says: Being mindful. This is a practice of being aware of your body and mind,thoughts and speech, actions and inaction’s.  This practice is not about changing the way you think or removing or adding thoughts. It is simply being aware and acknowledging what is going on physically and mentally.” 
All this is very good, and living mindfully can give one an appreciation for all of life.  But what happens when ‘feeling good’ leads to forgetting that one has AIDS:
“What had bothered me so much is that if I can forget about HIV/AIDS ,Then why do I expect others to think about it? Why do I expect others to care for more than Thirty seconds during commercial breaks?”

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Next,  from the Addiction Recovery Blog, we are offered some advice about  ‘Weight Loss Without Cravings and No Diet’.
“Food cravings and over eating are a symptom of us trying to tranquilise unresolved emotional issues that are leaving us with feelings such as emptiness, deprived and inadequate.  These feelings in turn come from life experiences which in some way have taught us that ‘this is how my life is’. This can be one event or many events in our lives that contribute to the writing on our mental walls.”
If weight is an issue for you, and you are not suffering from complications resulting from other health problems, this advice might be what you’ve been looking for.

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We Next present information that everyone can use by Revolution Health, an online community of health related topics for those who use the internet to accumulate more information about disease and overall health. Many of the I Blog Against AIDS bloggers actively work with Revolution Health to help prepare the Revolution Health Fair which passes this information on to a variety of networks.  This is information that is useful for anyone who choses to stay informed on a personal level.

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The Arkansas Gay History Blog collects GBLT news and Historic documents and stories, along with personal interviews that document Gay and lesbian civil and Public History of the Citizens of the state of Arkansas.  This offering profiles the owner of the Arkansas History Blog, Rick Ramsey.  In his post, ‘Ricks Little Rock Pride Bio’, Rick answers the question:  “What do you see in the near future and long-range for gay rights/equality?”
It’s telling that we all still have to consider equality under the Constitution of the United States.  Ricks response to the question?
“Near-term not much advance for gay civil rights in Arkansas. We have to have leaders with guts to advance that agenda and we don’t have those leaders at this time at the Arkansas Statehouse. Long term full equality!”

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In a move against Thailand, AIDS patients and WTO, Abbott Labs has gone into overdrive to keep
its own drugs the only ones available to people whose last hope is a drug manufactured by Abbott Labs.  In the hierarchy of countries most affected by AIDS, Thailand ranks 15th.  As explained in ‘Abbott Labs and ACT-UP Paris: Profit or Humanity’,  Abbott Labs has moved to boycott Thailand – withholding Abbott produced drugs. 
“Abbott Labs has deposed a complaint against ACT UP Paris which succeeded in blocking the pharmaceutical company’s Internet site for 24 hours on April 26, 2007. This action was intended to protest, in conjunction with militants in the worldwide fight against AIDS, and in solidarity with Thai citizens infected with HIV, the decision by Abbott to boycott Thailand.”  The actions of Abbott Labs amounts to terrorism for those who depend on Abbott produced drugs for their survival.

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The Nata Village Blog was born as a result of a world traveler, Jon Rawlinson, who passed through Nata on the way to the Okovango Delta.  Jon met Peace Corps Volunteer Melody Jenkins who is working as an HIV/AIDS educator and community capacity builder, and eventually wanted to make a difference in the quality of life in Nata.  Hence the birth of the Nata Village Blog.  In the post ‘Gloria Lives Openly with AIDS’, we learn that self esteem and determination are the keys to survival for those who lack the power or control needed to  stop to spread of AIDS.  In  ‘Gloria’ we see how the smallest things can be the biggest factor in  fostering self esteem and wellness.  In Gloria’s words:  “Thanks to those people out there who are helping us. You have paid for my transport on many occasions to reach the ARV clinic in Gweta. I no longer have to fight for a spot in the clinic ambulance. I really appreciate that.”

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The Press Institute for Women in the Developing World, submits ‘Ignorance about HIV still Prevalent in Nepal; Disease Becoming more Common Among Housewives.” 
As we learned in the Money & Power issue of Scribespirit, as well as posts here within the 13th Edition of ICP, women in many countries do not control their own physical entity.  From temple prostitution, to arranged marriage to strangers, many females are subjected to a lot which is beyond their own means to control.  In Nepal, where old tradition is still a way of life, women marry according to the will of the family – and that will often has little to do with love, and much to do with position and money.  Due to a long civil war in Nepal, many men must travel outside of Nepal to find work.
“New evidence from UNAIDS reveals that as many as ten percent of the migrants who work in India, return with HIV. Dr. Padam Bahadur Chand, director of the National AIDS and Sexual Disease Prevention Center of the Health Ministry in Nepal confirms that data. “Since they remain alienated from their family for long time, many of them indulge into unsafe sex and hence are infected with HIV,” he said.”
When the law exists to demand that women conform to the wishes of their spouse, it is not uncommon for these women to become infected with AIDS.  Human Rights for All is a dream in most places in this world, including here in the USA.

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‘Where did the love go?’, is a project by Broadsides of Visual AIDS and aims to ask a few essential questions of AIDS Activism. 
“With the distribution of Broadsides, Visual AIDS aims to target diverse communities and a new generation in order to spread the crucial message that AIDS IS NOT OVER.”
Visual Aids strives to increase public awareness of AIDS through the visual arts, creating programs of exhibitions, events and publications, and working in partnerships with artists, galleries, museums and AIDS organizations. 
The post continues dialog with: 
“Many issues surrounding AIDS are no longer front-page news, but the statistics continue to rise. Worldwide, over 22 million people have died from AIDS. In the United States:

An estimated one million people are currently living with HIV, with approximately 40,000 new infections occurring each year.”The four artists chosen to represent the campaign ‘Where did the love go?’ are;  Nayland Blake, Erik Hansen, Lou Laurita, and Nancer LeMoins.  In response to the Broadsides project, LeMoins says:  “I find that people with AIDS are more isolated now and don’t reach out the way they used to. My image was someone lost in loneliness, bombarded by the storm of AIDS. I want people to see each other and help each other through the problems that AIDS causes.”

  ..

  “Reflection”, Mixed Media, by Vivi-Mari Carpelan, © 2007

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” …. I found a message from Jeff Wagner, a musician whose music is described as alternative/blues/folk rock.  Jeff is preparing a new CD and he was asking for input from his fans and friends about what to include on his new disc.  I wrote him a note asking to him to write a song about HIV/AIDS.  A couple of days later, Jeff wrote to tell me that if I could write the lyrics, he would write the music and include a song on his new CD….”
So begins a post outlining correspondence between Ron Hudson and musician Jeff Wagner. 
Ron began his lyric writing by accumulating his thoughts on AIDS today:
“…Now, forty million people worldwide are infected and no one wants to talk about it anymore, from where we are to Singapore, from Capetown to your town.  Folks would rather talk about Paris Hilton.  They would rather talk about Paris Hilton’s chihuahua…”
In ‘An Open Letter to Jeff Wagner’,  Ron shines the spot light on the silence which much of America treats HIV/AIDS.  Be sure to re-visit 2sides2ron as Jeff’s response will surely result in a song.

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The last submission for the 13th Edition of ICP is by Richard Kearns of AIDS-Write.org.  I hope I can be forgiven for departing from the customary procedure for a blog carnival as I post Richard’s poem “Who Are You to Tell Me how to Sing the Blues”.  The full text of Richard’s post can be read at the above link, but here follows his poem:

who are you to tell me how to sing the blues?

to the self-appointed
hall monitors with
machine guns
uninformed about the law
sure about the criminals
killing us with pretense
& to all their many poisoned ears

who are you
to tell me how
to sing the blues?
i am the blues
i ring the blues out loud
for you: hear me now
these are the 1983
denver AIDS principles
in song: we are persons
with AIDS, we are, we must be
expert voices hearkened to
in all public health
policy dialogs about
our lives & deaths & our disease
the refrain is the same for
medical cannabis

here are the blues
i sing to you
our city must be
not only a good
place to live
but also also a
good place to die

this day’s challenge? to
create a greater good
with our land use wisdom

who are you
to tell me how
to sing the blues?
listen to my song
medical cannabis
saves lives
medical cannabis
can save more lives
medical cannabis
is the single most significant
in-place but unaccessed
AIDS treatment option
available today
in los angeles
for the more than
60,000 persons
livng here with
AIDS & HIV disease
& we represent
only 25 clandestined percent
of the medical cannabis community

i’m here
i’m queer
i medicate
here is my song
the time is ripe
to regulate
help us create
livable lives & deaths
who are you
to tell me how
to sing the blues?
i am the blues
song & singer
tap your foot & hum & listen
before i’m gone

“Who Are you to tell me how to sing the Blues”, © by Richard Kearns, 2007

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I want to thank every person who has contributed to this edition of International Carnival of Pozitivities.  Each of you is loved – even if it is via long distance – for who you are, what you do, and for blessing this planet with your light and being.  To all who have taken the time to stop by and read; you are loved too, and we hope that you might carry forth from these stories compassion, awareness and appreciation for this thing we call life.

The 14th Edition of International Carnival of Pozitivities will be hosted in August at Straight Not Narrow blog.
Watch this space and check your announcement areas for links and dates.

Peace, from the Editors of ScribeSpirit.
 

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