Category Archives: until there’s a cure

Words: From Me to You

andreaBY ANDREA MUFARREH

We all remember a time when someone said something that we will never forget. Most of the time, it’s something that didn’t just prick us or shock us, but rather, it’s something that lives within us. It’s like a thorn in our side that makes us feel inadequate and misunderstood. I don’t mean the misunderstood that a teenager feels when their parents won’t extend their curfew. The misunderstood feeling I’m talking about is this yearning to be accepted, understood and loved.

For me, there is a word that invokes this sort of feeling. As someone who converted to Christianity a little over two years ago, and underwent a radical change from an atheist and party girl to someone loves Jesus, the world “religious” gets to me.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the word religious, but I know that much of the time when someone asks me if I’m really religious, they’re actually wondering if I’m ritualistic and dogmatic. These words seem to have all become dirty words in our society.

I am ritualistic, in that I go to church weekly, and pray and read the Bible daily. I am dogmatic, in that I interpret the Bible as the true and living word of God, much like St. Augustine would. But as a Christian, my religion is not my rituals or my dogma. My religion is a relationship with who I believe to be the God of the universe and Savior of mankind.

What words haunt you? The words that haunt you may be the N-word or the F-word. Or maybe the word that haunts you is HIV+, AIDS, whore, or prostitute. We all have words that haunt us.

I think if anything, the lesson I’m learning is that words can be used to hurt people, but more importantly, words can be used to speak life into people. I write speak into because the words we speak have the power to live within another person. This sounds rather idealistic, but whether or not we admit it to ourselves, we all seem to live in a way that presupposes that there is a “perfect” or “ideal” way.

We volunteer at homeless shelters because the world would be better if everyone had a home they could call their own. We work to spread awareness about important issues because it would be better if people knew about them. We vote the way we vote because it would be better if our laws were a certain way.

We all have a certain notion of what a perfect and ideal world looks like and we attempt to live according to those standards. It’s okay that we’re different. It’s okay that we think differently. It’s okay that we live differently. It’s okay that we vote differently. It’s okay that we’re incredibly passionate about different things, even opposing things.

What would it look like if the words we speak into our family, friends and enemies actually built them up into the person they are meant to be? What would it look like if we actually lived to intentionally speak life into others who believe and live completely differently than we do?

The world would be a much better place.

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Raising Awareness in High School . . . Until There’s A Cure

Hello, my name is Kaylynn. I work with Austin at Until There’s a Cure once a week. We’ve done a variety of things, including organizing fundraisers, running a T-shirt contest, and packaging a variety of bracelets. In my opinion, the best thing about working with UNTIL is the feeling that everything you’re doing, even something as simple as adding tags to hundreds of bracelets, will make a difference. It’s nothing like anything I’ve done before.

Overall, we’ve both enjoyed the opportunity to work with Until There’s a Cure for the last semester. We’ve been exposed to a wide variety of real-world experiences that we wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. I’m hoping this semester will be even better-we’re planning on volunteering with actual patients, running a fundraiser for Woman and Girls HIV/AIDS day, and writing both blog entries and articles for our school’s newspaper.

Get more information and help raise awareness . . . Until There’s A Cure

www.until.org

High-Schoolers Volunteering . . . Until There’s A Cure

Hello, my name is Austin. I am a junior in high school, and I, as well as my classmate, Kaylynn, have been volunteering at the Until There’s A Cure foundation (UNTIL) for half a year. UNTIL is a program dedicated to raising money for relief to help AIDS victims as well as raising awareness about AIDS itself. I feel this has given me a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the world; however, what I feel has been the most rewarding and enjoyable part of UNTIL is the experience I have gained by organizing fundraisers and actually putting my mind and effort towards raising money for UNTIL’s cause.
Myself and Kaylynn originally found UNTIL as a volunteering opportunity through one of our school’s clubs: the Octagon Club. The Octagon Club allows students to find community service events with ease so that they can still volunteer despite their busy schedules. I have found that with the Octagon club, volunteering tends to be short and on a one time basis. This is not true with UNTIL. Although UNTIL was originally just another short event where students would package bracelets, Kaylynn and I have been given the chance to actually contribute intellectually to UNTIL’s progress. We have been doing this by planning fundraisers and actually getting to test our ideas for what kinds of fundraisers could be the most effective. I think that our contribution to UNTIL has not only allowed us to help victims of AIDS, but also gain experience and skills that will help us the rest of our lives.

Visit Until There’s A Cure’s website www.until.org to find out more about the organization and what you can do to help!

Learning How Non-Profits Work

Hi there! I´m Bastian another German intern at Until There´s A Cure. Like my friends, Rebecca and Philipp, I study in Munich – sports event and media management. During my internship around Stanford and Silicon Valley I have the chance to work with Until There´s A Cure for four weeks.

During my first two years in university I was taught to make money out of everything – investing a lot in marketing and good strategies. So it was kind of difficult for me to understand the way how a Non-Profit Organization like UNTIL works. After some meetings with the UNTIL team everything was more clear for me. We had a lot to discuss, to make the best out of it and go on – step by step.
Two weeks ago Rebecca, Philipp and I started to work on some guidelines to push the Until There´s A Cure Foundation and create some new designs. Right now I am working with our webmaster on the layout and the design for our new website www.until.org.  You see, there is a lot to do at Until There´s A Cure. So why don´t you join us and have a great time – working in this team is great, you will see and learn a lot.

Hope to see you around the office,

Bastian

A New Experience

My name is Rebecca and I´m a student from Germany. I´m from the same university as Philipp the Intern at Until There´s A Cure. Since the beginning of August, I have been here in California for an Internship around Stanford and the Silicon Valley. We had the chance to travel a lot on the weekends, because of this we learned a lot about the life, landscape and culture.  And I was able to spend the last couple of weeks working at Until There’s A Cure, also.

I never expected that I would work at an HIV/AIDS foundation and I have to say that it´s a great experience. Philipp is working on the Corporate Identity and branding of Until There´s A Cure, so I came in to help him a bit, because it´s always easier to work in a team than alone. At our first meeting with the UNTIL team we had a lot to discuss and now we have a lot of work to complete!

I’m really glad that I’ve had this opportunity to spend time here.  It´s so great to be here, everyone is so helpful and wants that I learn a lot at my experiences at Until There´s A Cure.  And while I am teaching them a bit about branding they are teaching me a lot about HIV/AIDS and, of course, the U.S.A!

Glad to be here,

Rebecca

To find out more about Until There’s A Cure or purchase items to support the fight against HIV/AIDS, please visit www.until.org

HIV/AIDS: On the front page or not…

BY HANA KAJIMURA

The holiday season means a lot of travel. For me, airports and airplanes go hand in hand with magazines full of “holiday gift guides” and “2010 wrap ups”. As I flipped through the health page of the December 24th-Jan 7th edition of The Week, reading about how naps and dreams make us smarter, laughing makes us hungrier, and growing old makes us happier, my eyes focused at the bottom of the page—“New hope for blocking HIV.”

In a two year clinical trial in South Africa, women who used a fairly inexpensive vaginal gel containing medicine used to treat the AIDS virus, decreased their chances of infection by half. In another trial, a drug commonly used to treat people infected with AIDS, was completely preventative of infection among sexually active gay men if taken daily. After the first year, ¾ of the participants who continued to take the drug regularly remained healthy and uninfected.

Whenever I see a headline with the words HIV in the news, let alone in print, I can’t help but feel a little like I’ve just stumbled upon hidden treasure. While HIV/AIDS doesn’t make the front page very often, it should. When women around the world, no longer totally reliant on male condom use, are becoming empowered, and one of the largest at risk groups moves a step closer towards an answer, public attention is not only warranted, but deserved.

When HIV/AIDS doesn’t make major news, we cannot forget all those, infected and affected, living away from the headlines. This is my favorite time of year—especially because I have an excuse to tell those I love how thankful I am for them. The holidays are a time to appreciate all that we have now, all that we’ve had in the past, and all that is to come. They are a time to be around family and friends, and of course, a time to give.

The fact of the matter is we need more money for HIV/AIDS research, resources for those affected, and awareness for all. Whether it means buying a few bracelets to show the ones we love how much we care about them, or asking for a donation instead of a Christmas gift, we can all make a difference this holiday to “increase compassion, understanding and responsibility…Until There’s A Cure.”

Hana Kajimura is a freshman at Stanford University.

Responsibility

By Lindsay Steele

“Increase compassion, understanding and RESPONSIBILTY …Until There’s A Cure.”

This is the phrase that concludes all communications from Until There’s A Cure. These three values, compassion, understanding and responsibility, lie at the core of what we aim to instill in minds and hearts every where.

Yesterday, I, along with two others from Until There’s A Cure, met with the Downtown Youth Clinic in Oakland, CA, a clinic that serves HIV-positive youth between the ages of 13 and 24. This was a very insightful experience for me as we learned the perspectives from three different HIV-positive youth. One idea that came up was that of “responsibility”.

My ears perked up when I heard this word.

This youth talked about the idea of “joint responsibility” – the responsibility of both the HIV-positive and HIV-negative communities to protect ourselves, protect others, inform ourselves and inform others.

Whether or not we are infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS … We share physical and mental spaces each and every day with handshakes, hugs, high fives, ideas, opinions, cheers and more. If we share all of this and more, why would we not share responsibility for ending an epidemic that has taken the lives of over 33 million individuals?

Hearing this youth share his ideas of “joint responsibility” really hit me hard. I hope that you will assume your responsibility in the fight to end HIV/AIDS by sharing this blog post with others and continuing your support for Until There’s A Cure.

I would love to hear your thoughts on “joint responsibility”. Please comment on this post to share.