On this day we remember the lives that have been lost ….
Many of these people loved so well and filled those around them with joy. The devastation that the epidemic wreaked here and abroad is horrific. Today can be a day of both mourning and of celebration. We mourn for the lives that were cut too short, sometimes in such painful, shocking ways. However we can also celebrate their lives and who they were to us.
On this day we can also remember and stand in solidarity with those who currently have HIV/AIDS…..
In America medication is available so those with HIV can live long, full lives, but not without problems. The medication is not cheap and the frequent side affects of the medication aren’t pretty. In other countries medication is even harder to come by. In places like Uganda fear from anti-gay violence keeps many away from even getting tested. In the south (where deaths rates from HIV/AIDS are 50% higher than in the rest of the United States) medical officials are trying to reach more rural areas that still do not have a grasp on the virus and still fear those with it. Just recently a study concluded that this past year there is a resurgence of HIV among gay men all over the world.
There are 35 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world today with an average of 262 new positives every hour.
On this day we can participate by….
Watching films such as David Weissman’s We Were Here, which chronicles the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco during the early 1980’s. Moving, sad, and joyful We Were Here is a beautiful to tribute to those who died and survived the epidemic. Or one can watch André Téchiné’s underrated film The Witness’s. A film about the people surrounding a young man with HIV and how they respond; some detach, some go numb, and others create art. It is a subtle film that asks the viewer how to truly and authentically be with those who suffer.
Continuing to encourage safe sex, medication, and education about the virus because despite tremendous progress in finding a cure, HIV/AIDS is still very real and active in our communities.
Encouraging one another to love others and fight stigma until HIV/AIDS is no longer with us.