Thank you everyone for your pics this week! Hope to see you at our Vigil tonight for World AIDS Day.
Every year on December 1 we commemorate World AIDS Day. We remember those we have lost to HIV/AIDS and stigma, and celebrate the resilience of those living with and affected by HIV.
It’s an opportunity to see how far we’ve come (in terms of stigma, health care, access to testing and treatment) and how much work is left to be done (in terms of stigma, health care, access to testing and treatment).
It’s a day to spark conversation, to encourage empathy and education, to inspire people to see the nuances of HIV and the complex lives of people living with HIV. It’s an opportunity to highlight that everyone has an HIV status (not just HIV positive people) and that there is no single “face” of HIV.
At the beginning of the epidemic a young gay man said “AIDS is like a lens. When you look through it, you see all of society’s problems magnified.” Thirty years later, this is still the case. People who are more marginalized (facing more systemic barriers) are more vulnerable to HIV infection, and more likely to fall through the cracks if they do get diagnosed.
So, this World AIDS Day is many things to different people, but I think I’ve come to see it as a way of viewing family, community, and humanity in a way that unites us. HIV does not discriminate, but we do. If we want to#KissHIVGoodbye, we need to start with our individual values, attitudes, and behaviours, and advocate for institutional change. #GettingToZero is possible, but not without some real, deliberate shifts.