World AIDS Day: what we still need to know

Today is World AIDS Day, a time to raise awareness about AIDS and work towards stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS and work for a cure. Michael Specter writes a sobering article in The New Yorker about the current status of awareness and action:

…I have covered wars, before the epidemic began and since. They are all ugly and painful and unjust, but for me, nothing has matched the dread I felt while walking through the Castro, the Village, or Dupont Circle at the height of the AIDS epidemic. It could seem as if a neutron bomb had exploded: the buildings stood; cars were parked along the roadside; there were newsstands and shops and planes flying overhead. But the people on the street were dying. The Castro was lined with thirty-year-old men who walked, when they could, with canes or by leaning on the arms of their slightly healthier lovers and friends. Wheelchairs filled the sidewalks. San Francisco had become a city of cadavers.

In the years that followed, the epidemic seemed to go away—though of course it never did, here or anywhere else. (By the end of this year, AIDS will have killed nearly forty million people—most of them in Africa.) And this week, in a powerful story in the Times, Donald McNeil pointed out that those most wretched days could return. “Federal health officials are reporting a sharp increase in unprotected sex among gay Americans,’’ he wrote, “a development that makes it harder to fight the AIDS epidemic.”

Can we halt this epidemic once again? Of course, or at least the dangers can be greatly reduced. But of the more than a million Americans who are infected with HIV (there are fifty thousand new cases a year), many have no decent health care, and nearly a third are not even aware they are infected. Racism, homophobia, and poverty continue to drive much of the epidemic. Minorities have the highest infection levels and are least likely to have access to satisfactory medical attention or drug treatments. Obamacare will help, but how fast or how well, nobody yet knows.

h/t to Font Folly “To Absent Friends”

From the Anglican Diocese of Ontario, Canada:


The Anglican Diocese of Toronto invites you to attend a World AIDS Day Vigil service

Sunday December 1, 2013 – 3:00 pm

Saint Peter’s Anglican Church

188 Carlton Street (east of Sherbourne on Carlton)

Guest Speaker: Yvette Perreault Director, AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Project of Ontario

Sponsored by the parish of St. Peter’s Anglican Church and the Diocese of Toronto HIV&AIDS Network.

This is not something that only affects the gay community, all need to be aware of the facts and how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. For how to take action and find out facts go here.

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