You’d expect this of me, seeing how I’m less than 5 days away from the Toronto AIDS Walk, right? Good for you!
ACT has been around since 1983. I’ll let that sink in. Nearly 30 years. Thirty years of bringing comfort and assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto. That’s a lot of caring. And now, living in Rob Ford’s Toronto, ACT’s programs are constantly under scrutiny by City Hall.
According to ACT, 2 people are infected daily and preventing one infection saves $370,000 over a lifetime. 1 in 4 new HIV diagnoses are people under 30. 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses are women. 1 in 5 are gay men.
“But Dead Robot!” you say, “The new cocktail prolongs life!”
The current run of cocktails are doing a bang up job on suppressing the virus, but the cost of these drugs are still shockingly high. The most popular pill, Atripla (a carefully combined pill of three top performing antiretroviral medications) costs nearly $60 per pill. Not everyone can afford this, obviously. ACT helps bridge that gap by being an access point for provincial and federal health programs. Combine this with outreach and education programs, ACT has been busy over it’s near-30 year run.
Okay so the pamphlet is out of the way…
Why do I think dressing up in Star Wars outfits helps this cause?
I want to rattle a cage or two, like my brother did back in the 70s when he joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. But in this case, this is the closest to drag I can comfortably get!
Seriously, I want to further demystify the stigma. I want someone who might still think HIV/AIDS is not part of their life, see Stormtroopers and Jedi and think that it’s not just a “gay disease”. It’s my hope that in seeing us at this event, we make people question their (non?) acceptance of this disease, or shake their complacency towards it. I want people to take away that there is more than just a set class of people who are affected by this disease (like “gay men” or “women”), and that Geeks and Nerds are aware and active against HIV/AIDS too.
That’s why I’m walking. And I am so very glad that my friends from the 501st are coming along too. As of writing this, we’ve got a Vader, a Boba Fett, a Rebel pilot, a Sith lord (or two?) and 4-5 TK (troopers!).
Here’s the pitch. Donate today. The time is running out!