Today is a special day for Callen-Lorde, our community and all of us who have helped lead the effort to end the HIV epidemic not only in New York City, but all around the globe. December 1st is World AIDS Day, a day to pay tribute to the lives of loved ones lost to the AIDS epidemic, to celebrate the lives of those who live with and/or are affect by HIV/AIDS, and to continue advocating for expansion and amplification of services worldwide.
For many years HIV prevention lacked options – it was condoms or HIV – and even today across the globe people living with HIV/AIDS lack the option of initiating treatment as soon as possible. Not too long ago, this was the reality here in the US, and with bold leadership, research and advocacy, our government took steps to address this issue. There were new guidelines recommending immediate treatment initiation for those who tested positive, and there was the approval of PrEP for negative people. The more options that people have to protect themselves the more likely they are to pick what is best for them. It is important to acknowledge the advantage we have over other countries, but it is even more important to acknowledge that our leadership may drive global policies that will improve the lives of all persons living with this virus.
The fight is not over until we defeat stigma. That is something that we can only fully attain by education, awareness and compassion. If we are all better informed and have an ample menu of options, then we are a step closer to eliminating the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
In honor of World AIDS Day, stop by for all-day free HIV testing, education materials, snacks giveaways and more, along with an interactive art installation.
We know how to eliminate AIDS, we know how to control HIV and we have more options than ever for keeping individuals negative.Together, we can end the epidemic!