Sunday, December 01, 2013

World AIDS Day 2013

December 1 is World AIDS Day, and each year I do a blog post because, as I’ve often said, I feel it’s my duty to remember all those we’ve lost—because AIDS isn’t over yet. Some years I say a lot, others not much more than an acknowledgement. But whichever it is, it’s the one thing I’ve done every year since I started this blog; in fact, it may be the only thing I’ve observed every year.

The image at the top of this post is a representation of the entire NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, which is now far too big to display in one place. I talked about that in July of last year. I think the image is a good way to grasp the enormity of our losses.

AIDS has come up, one way or another, in a variety of my blog posts. The thing is, it’s impossible for someone to be an LGBT activist, as I was for about a decade, without also being involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and on behalf of those with it. My particular area of effort was legislation in the US Congress, and we won some and we lost some, but we never gave up the fight.

Over the years, many of those who were engaged in that fight—colleagues of mine, and friends—have died. But they didn’t lose the fight against HIV/AIDS, having fought all the way. They gave all they had to give.

So when I post these annual reminders, it’s not just some banal “golly, isn’t it great that we remember” nonsense; instead, it’s an act of defiance, that despite everything, despite all the loss and despite the hatred and bigotry our steadfast adversaries still display and use, we are still here and we’re still fighting. Someday, we’ll be the last ones left standing on the battlefield as our adversaries finally surrender or move on to new targets.

But until that day, it’s important that we remember all those who have fallen in this war. And I do, but not just on December 1. This evening, Helen Clark of the UNDP (and former NZ Prime Minister) Tweeted something that I think pretty well sums up what I think. She said: "1 December is World #AIDS Day: time to recommit to a world with zero new infections, stigma & discrimination, & universal treatment access." Exactly.

Previous years’ blog posts:

World AIDS Day 2012
World AIDS Day 2011
World AIDS Day 2010
World AIDS Day 2009
World AIDS Day 2008
World AIDS Day 2007
World AIDS Day 2006

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