|The Mystery Disease That Would Define a Generation|
The Mystery Disease that Transformed Generations
30 years ago a doctor was confounded by symptoms he had never seen before. Cutting to the chase, he is credited with labeling the fist AIDS case in America for what it was: a horrifyingly carnivorous disease that took thousands of lives, initially mostly homosexuals, and started a revolution. Not only did AIDS research begin in earnest and result in life-saving gains, but same-sex partners pioneered health care breakthroughs that benefited a nation. It also paved the way for a previously underground and shamed generation of LBGT's to open their closet doors, leave their shadowed existence with their heads held high (well in most states) and walk, work and live productively and lovingly among the rest of us.
But the challenge is far from over. Though great strides have been made to educate and provide support to this previously hidden population of young men and women, paradoxically, it's now parents and even grandparents who have become the silent secret sufferers between the sheets. The world has flipped and now it's mom, dad, grandma Lizzy and grandpa Luke who are at greatest risk. Condoms make a huge difference, but the older generation still thinks condoms are for procreation protection. Also, they have now become a new generation of daters filled with sex-sublimation and shame. Whoever thought that sexy seniors, once judgmental of the young, would be the fastest growing population in the nation to contract HIV/AIDS and other STDs? Men and women who are new to the dating scene are most at risk, and those suffering memory loss in retirement villages and nursing homes experience only a lack of inhibition, not desire or activity.
30 years later we have a new closet to open. One that is full of secrets that need to be shouted out loud. We need safe sex education for those least aware and most at risk--our venerated elders who, thankfully, remain sexy after all these years. A sexy, savvy senior myself, I plead on the behalf of all other seniors that we educate. Educate their grown children. Educate those afraid of the legal system. Educate America. Sex is our life-long birthright. Let's use it and not lose it to disease.