The 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day was commemorated in Hartford Wednesday. According to statistics, about 2,000 people live with AIDS in the City of Hartford.
In Connecticut it’s reported that 10,585 people are living with HIV, about 20 percent of those who are infected don’t even know it.
“This is an easily preventable disease and very easily prevented so part of our message is around prevention and the other part of the message is around getting tested,” said Shawn Lang with AIDS Connecticut.
The goal is for zero HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Michael Hawkins, 55, lives in New Britain and has been living with AIDS since 1987. He contracted HIV through drugs. Now a poet, with a book entitled, “To Touch a Nerve,” Hawkins shares his deepest moments struggling with the disease.
“No matter what your sexual preference is, what color you are, what race you are, I have a disease that does not discriminate but then I found a power greater than myself within myself,” he said.New advancements in medicine makes it easier to overcome the disease that’s spread through needles, intercourse and child birth.
For many who are infected living a life not hidden in shame is possible and Michael Hawkins is a living example.
“What I thought was a curse by having the virus has truly become a blessing in my life.”