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by Karl Waldbauer

I found a tear lurking in my eye.
At first perplexed, I wondered why.
Of course the answer was easy to see.
I was afraid AIDS would get me.
CNN talked of World AIDS Day,
they said the pope had begun to pray
for the souls of the dying and the dead,
but I think the man is out of his head.
Stay safe with abstinence he was heard to say.
Using condoms is not God's way.
In Africa they're dropping like flies
due to poverty and witch doctors' lies.
"Have sex with a virgin" they tell sick men,
so men infect children again and again.
Lack of meds creates orphans, they're common as dirt.
Think of their fear, try to imagine their hurt.
Me (and some friends) have HIV,
but we'll beat the disease, just wait and see.
Here in America we can afford to save life
while in third world countries it cuts like a knife
through families, communities, economies, too.
Don't ever forget, it can even get you.
Donate some money,
use your head
and be wise, my friend, when entertaining in bed.


Author's Note: Monday, December 1, 2003 is World AIDS Day. In Africa, there are 14,000,000 (FOURTEEN MILLION!) orphans due to the AIDS epidemic. On that continent, over 30,000,000 people are believed to be infected with HIV right now.

Post Script.
On Dec. 1, 2004, World AIDS Day, I learned every hour in the U.S. two young people under the age of 24 are infected with HIV. That's 48 YOUNG people per day, 17,520 per year. More than half of them are heterosexual young women and the vast majority are African American. In Florida, the home of many retired people, one in seven new HIV cases is a person over 50 years of age.

June 5, 2006 will be the 25th anniversary of the Center for Disease Control report on a mysterious disease affecting five gay men in Los Angeles. The U.S. AIDS epidemic was born. Since that day, more than 500,000 Americans have died from AIDS. This is the number of people who live in Tuscon, Arizona and considerably more than the populations of Miami, Atlanta, or Minneapolis.

Posted on 11/30/2003
Copyright © 2022 Karl Waldbauer

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Max Bouillet on 12/02/03 at 03:34 PM

Karl, this is a poiignant reminder for us all to get our priorties straight. Thank you for sharing this important verse.

Posted by Kourosh Taheri-Golvarzi on 04/11/05 at 09:08 AM

Another epidemic that doesn't have to be. When will people learn?? Sex is NOT wrong! Misinformation is!! We have to take back the power we gave up several thousand years ago. Rock on, man!

Posted by Rula Shin on 05/13/06 at 02:11 PM

Your poem is powerful and poignant, and the statistics you mention are shocking and appalling. Indeed HIV, in a way, is an invisible epidemic in the sense that so many of us just don't think about it because we can't SEE it, it doesn't APPEAR to touch our everyday lives, when the truth is obviously quite the opposite, this virus so widespread, and so easily passed along by dangerous habits and/or ignorance. I find what you say about Africa particularly striking and thought provoking. Misinformation, Miseducatation, and the creation of all kinds of self serving heathens help to spread this wildfire instead of taming it...while religious doctrines, so stiff, inflexible, and impossibly impractical are nothing but uselses words blown in the wind. Thank you for the powerful reminder.

Posted by Ashok Sharda on 05/13/06 at 02:29 PM

Its a meaningful reminder and we must take heed.After all this is some thing which can wipe this specie out from the face of this earth. Your piece depicts this horror powerfully.

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