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

Sunday, January 1, 2012
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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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