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Looking back, and looking forward — Are we getting complacent about HIV?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Janus was the Roman God of Thresholds, of transition, of beginnings and ending. He is often depicted with two faces, one for looking forward and one for looking back. January, the beginning month of the new year is named for Janus, and so, it’s natural that humans take this time to look back — and look forward — at the approach of the New Year.

As I take a look back, I’m very grateful for some amazing things that have happened this year in the U.S.- things that I never thought would happen in my lifetime — including:

All good stuff.

But what I am finding amazing is the conspicuous absence or light mentions in the LGBT media about the dramatic advances in HIV treatment and prevention in the “best of” roundups this year.

A year when there have arguably been more advances in treatment, prevention and scientific breakthroughs than in any other year in the 30 since AIDS was discovered. A year when top government officials committed time, money and policy to ending this disease. A year when Science magazine called the HPTN 052 Study the scientific breakthrough of the year.

It’s puzzling.

Are we getting complacent about HIV? Are we in denial about the very real danger it still poses to our community? Do people understand that having HIV is difficult- creating financial, medical, emotional and social problems that can be devastating for people, families and communities?

It seems so.

I am, like I said, grateful for all the things listed above. I am grateful for Chaz and trans representation. I am grateful for relationship rcognition. I am grateful for advances in employment nondiscrimination. I am grateful that my government is taking LGBT rights seriously. I am especially grateful that the elected administration of this land is treating HIV like it should be treated — as a disease, a viral infection — and not as some Divine Punishment inflicted on the sexually and socially repugnant dregs of society. That is a big deal.

In fact it’s huge.

So why did we miss it?

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7 more reader comments:

  1. Of course. Without question.

    Posted on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 2:41pm
  2. Duh. Have you gone to any online hookup sites? The majority of 18-24 year old kids want bareback/raw/breed only.

    Posted on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 2:44pm
  3. There’s a vaccine that is going into clinical human testing this month:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/12/20/hiv-vaccine-western.html
    If that isn’t a sign of non-complacency, I don’t know what is.

    Posted on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 2:48pm
  4. 1 in 4 do not even know their status. Get tested, if for no reason than to save the next trick from passing along a nightmare.

    Posted on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 2:50pm
  5. Yes. I’ve been bitching about this for years.

    Posted on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 4:20pm
  6. No.

    Posted on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 5:19pm
  7. I do believe that we have become very complacent regarding HIV/AIDS. I used to work for the Red Cross back in the late 80′s, early 90′s and I do believe that people were much more careful than the young people are today. They just don’t take it seriously and think that if they get it, the drugs will be “available” to extend their lives. It does not work that way. Only for those who can afford the drugs. I think before starting any sexual relationship, both should be tested and show each other the results. A vaccine going into clinical testing on humans will take years to be available. It’s a good thing if it really works, but we won’t know soon enough for too many people. But, as anything in life, it’s a personal choice and you live or die with the consequences.

    Posted on Monday, January 2, 2012 at 6:27am