The beginning of the epidemic in 1981 was a time full of fear, prejudice, and death; a time when our own government and our own president would barely acknowledge a disease that was killing gay men, Americans, by the thousands.
We've overcome so much of the fear and death surrounding the epidemic, but the prejudice and ignorance remains. The stigma is real, and too many people are becoming complacent about this still very real, very dangerous disease.
These days, we have a chance to eradicate this disease, to end this epidemic once and for all. It starts with education, and ends with a cure. People with HIV aren’t dirty, or damaged, or victims. They’re your friends, your neighbors, your lawmakers, sports stars, doctors, nurses. They could be the person standing next to you in line; and you’d never know. Stigma is as dangerous as the disease itself, because it keeps this disease and those who are POZ in the dark, and suffering, sometimes completely alone, sometimes even wrongly imprisoned because of their status. Tools like PrEP and antiretroviral drugs are valuable, and work, but can't make it to those who need it most without widespread, broad based support from ordinary people.
We can do better. I’m willing to fight this fight any way I can, and I hope you’ll fight with me. If you have much, give of your wealth. If you have little, give what you can, even if that is only the gift of your heart and your support.
“We live in a completely interdependent world, which simply means that we cannot escape each other. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. It is not someone else’s problem. This is everybody’s problem” -Bill Clinton