Today’s blog is written by Kelly, the friendly and efficient team member who will be the first to greet you by phone (or in person) at Desert Ridge Smiles. Thank you for sharing your story.
As the summer days end and fall begins, many people are preparing for nice weather and the holiday season, however, I am preparing for the Phoenix AIDS walk. I participate in the AIDS walk every year with my family and friends to support the many people that have suffered with HIV/AIDS. I am the captain of Team Brad and Dena, commemorating my parents. This disease has impacted my life profoundly, as both my parents were infected with AIDS in the late 1980’s from blood transfusions. My mother passed a year after her diagnosis from pneumonia and a weakened immune system. My father passed a year later. In the 80’s, not much was known about this disease, but after many years, advances in medicine have been made in treating HIV/AIDS.
I have worked in the dental field for seven years. I see the effects that oral health, or lack thereof, can have on a person’s body. There could be many reasons why patients are not keeping up with their dental visits, but it is very important for the HIV/AIDS patient to be active in their dental care.
For the HIV/AIDS patient, regular dental care will help to maintain the health of their mouth, which can help their entire body. If a patient is in pain from dental problems, it could interfere with eating and obtaining proper nutrition, both of which are vital for patients with this disease.
The oral cavity is full of bacteria that can lead to bacterial or viral infections in an immunocompromised individual. Gum disease and decay can cause serious illnesses, so it is important for HIV/AIDS patients to keep up with their routine dental visits.
As I participate in the AIDS walk each year, I observe the people that walk. Many of them may be battling HIV/AIDS and others are walking for people they know or have lost from this disease. I have watched others go through the same battle as my parents, and though they are living longer now, there still is no cure.
I am currently setting up my team. This year my family will be making team shirts, with the picture of my parents, Brad and Dena on them. We hope to encourage people to spread the word about the disease, build a bigger and stronger team than before, and ultimately help to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.
The Phoenix AIDS walk is always entertaining. You will see people of all ages, with some dressed in costume! Many people bring furry friends to support Paws for the Cause. Throughout the walk there are bands and disc jockeys. You may even catch sight of a storm trooper or Sparky, the mascot from ASU.
We will walk the AIDS walk and donate until there is a cure. I hope that bringing routine dental care into the minds of patients afflicted with disease will help them to live strong lives. The Phoenix AIDS walk is October 26th, 2014 in downtown Phoenix. If you would like to join the walk, please go to https://www.aidswalkaz.org