As the health care capital of the world, we owe it to our neighbors to provide lifesaving education and resources.
As a 43-year-old woman and LGBTQ activist, I remember the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, and applaud those who have done so much to save lives since then.
However, my peers in Generation X and our parents' generation, the Baby Boomers, have been remiss, since I now hear - all too frequently - young people in the LGBTQ community saying things like "It's okay, I'm immune to HIV."
I never want to hear another young person tell a potential partner that again. And this does not only apply to the LGBTQ community; rates are rising at an equal rate in the 18-34 age group among ALL communities. I've assembled a panel of young survivors and community health educators to advise me on how to best use the resources we have to provide a greater educational presence, and prevent another epidemic in Houston.
I have also lost too many dear friends from lack of access to lifesaving resources like insulin, mental health services, or the simple ability to see a doctor when a terminal illness could've been diagnosed early and/or prevented. No Houstonian should lose their life because of a lack of funds, especially those who do not have the "social capital" to find donors for a fundraiser to cover their health care costs. It's a big task, but if we can work with our existing community and public health resources - in addition to guiding those in need through the process of finding the help they deserve - we can save many, many lives.