In America, where appearances are everything, we have tended to diminish the current state of the AIDS epidemic. In the same manner that protease inhibitors have masked the symptoms of AIDS, giving the false impression the virus has been eradicated; we have given the same treatment to the presence of AIDS in the community.
In 3rd world countries the landscape is entirely different. Unfortunately, stigma against AIDS is so pervasive in these countries, that not only are people continuing to get infected at alarming rates, those who are infected are left to live out a nightmare existence.
I normally do not think of South Africa as a 3rd world country, but I still cannot shake the image of a woman there who was murdered because she had gotten infected and had become a vocal AIDS activist. She was murdered because she had allegedly brought shame upon her family by revealing to the press that she had AIDS.
As bad as AIDS is, and has been, in the United States, the way the epidemic is raging on in other parts of the world is almost unimaginable.
I have emceed AIDS Walk Long Island for the past decade. It seems that the participation of gays and GLBT organizations in this event has decreased year-by-year. I have heard that story echoed in other communities as well.
There is no cure. Infections of young gay men are on the rise. We still have so far to go to eliminate this horrendous disease from the landscape. And what will happen if suddenly we find the drug cocktails no longer work? For many, this has already happened.
There are many in the GLBT community who have lost so many friends and loved ones over the years, that they just want to move on from dealing with AIDS. And, truthfully, that is understandable. But it would be sad if we, as a community, stopped putting forth the maximum effort to raise the public’s consciousness… and if we let up in our efforts to raise money to fight AIDS, as well.
Until it’s over.
— Scott Miller
|Scott Miller is a political activist who runs a free, daily subscription email service of LGBT news articles. To subscribe email Scott Millerdirect.|