*Update 5/13/2013: Your donations to benefit DC's The Grassroot Project have had the bonus impact of earning me 25,000 CrowdRise Impact Points, which I have redeemed to sponsor one young person in Africa to participate in the Skillz HIV prevention curriculum through the Grassroot Soccer organization.
Oh goodness. What did I just sign up for? Something "athlete"-y. Something outside my comfort zone (like way out). But that's pretty much how HIV prevention discourse in this country has been - a test of comfort. I mean most people never even say the words HIV or AIDS (team members excluded). Go ahead, say them out loud, I'll wait. Not as scary as you thought? (Your half-marathon task: continue the conversation with people you know; your marathon task: try it with people you don't!)
Now I can imagine what you must think when I say I have been living with HIV since 1983. No way is that possible. Yes, it's possible. It will be 30 years on August 3, 2013. (You can find the story on Google).
I have done a number of zany things in my life: I was an original member of the Jack Crew at Georgetown (C'05 - Hoya Saxa!), danced the macarena at the Googleplex, celebrated my 25th birthday at the top of Europe, openly disclosed my HIV positive status while traveling alone to Beijing after the repealment of China's travel restrictions against persons with HIV. Which is why I'm running (and let's be honest, walking is allowed too) this race now - because for me it seems impossible. But I'm going to make it possible.
Also, Grassroots is doing phenomenal HIV prevention work in a city where I first received my HIV care. In 1991, I was a pediatric patient at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. By 1994, I was well-known at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX. Later in 2001, I was an adult patient at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD during my college years. Naturally, it makes all kinds of nonsense that I'd be doing this Marine half.
I'm pretty confident I'll survive this :)