In talking with others I often get the sense that many people think of HIV and AIDS as something in the past. Unfortunately, this isn’t true, we have more people living with HIV than ever before, in large part thanks to effective medications, which have become more tolerable, and easier to take than ever before.
We also now have medications that can prevent HIV, which can certainly put minds at ease for people who might be at risk of HIV. World Aids Day is also a time when we remember people who have died from HIV and AIDS. Because of the deep stigma surrounding this disease, sometimes even family members don’t know the people that they love are living with it, or have died from it. In a time when HIV is both so easily treatable and preventable, one of the main barriers is stigma.
So if you’re reading this, the one thing that I want you to do is think about what comes to mind if you imagine somebody love being diagnosed with HIV. Do you want to know where they got it from? What did they do? Do you worry about being close to them again?
Just like any disease, we should be rallying to support those who live with this. As soon as we associate a disease with immorality, we heap stigma on top of stigma. This is no good for anyone. HIV thrives in the dark.
So this World Aids Day, I ask that you be a light in the dark, and leave no place where HIV can hide.
About Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition
At Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, we are committed to building a supportive and enriching community abundant in opportunities for LGBTQIA+ individuals and those with a stake in creating a more inclusive Lancaster County. For more information, visit lgbtlancaster.org