World AIDS Day turns 30 years old today. The very first global commemoration to raise awareness of the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) was observed on December 1, 1988 – seven years into the struggle against HIV/AIDS. Normally, this type of anniversary would be a cause of celebration. However, the fact that humanity still suffers from this disease is no reason for jubilation. Yes, we have had a few remarkable successes in fighting this pandemic; but the fact remains that we continue to lose both lives and talent.
October 11, annually, is Coming Out Day a time for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) people to open the closet (secret hiding place) door and step out into the world as a proud member of the GLBTQ community. National Coming Out Day is observed on October 11, in the USA and is also celebrated on October 12, in other countries throughout the world. The term “coming out” is used when persons who are GLBTQ take the steps to let others know of their sexual orientation.
PrEP is an abbreviation for pre-exposure prophylaxis, a medical term for a treatment to prevent the transmission of a disease or infection. For the purposes of this posting here on ReNude Pride, the disease is HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In the language and literature of the bisexual, men who have sex with men (MSM) and same gender loving community, PrEP is often referred and used instead of the commercial medication Truvada (emtricitabine and and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate). It is a once a day pill that helps prevent the transmission of HIV.
Today is National HIV Testing Day in the USA and some other parts of the world. Observed on June 27, annually, this date is designated to remind us all of the importance of knowing our HIV status and in doing so, enhance our health. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is no longer the life-threatening condition that it once was and through treatment and medication, it is now a manageable disease. It remains, however, a communicable infection with serious consequences if untreated. That is the reason testing for HIV is very important to our health.
Last week, as an afterthought, I was sent to the my state’s conference on HIV/AIDS which is held annually throughout the state. It has been a number of years since I’ve attended one and I was anxious to see what, if any, personnel changes had occurred since the last time I was present at one. The convocation was sponsored by the state-wide health department and featured a number of guest presenters from across the southeastern region of the USA.
Wednesday of this week, February 7, is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the USA. It’s the date, conveniently during the USA’s Black History Month observance, to direct people’s attention to the disproportionate impact the HIV/AIDS pandemic has on the African-American community. Americans of African descent constitute 13% of this country’s population yet represent more than 50% of all categories reported in HIV and AIDS related statistics reported to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This disparity in infection rates remains a disgrace on the American Public Health system and represents negligence by the both elected officials and leaders.
The World Health Organization has designated December 1, annually, as World AIDS Day. This date is significant as all of us, since 1981, are living in a world that is continually suffering the ravages of HIV/AIDS. Despite massive prevention education strategies launched both globally and locally, we have failed to protect ourselves from infection and the stigma falsely associated with those living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS. As a result, we are all living in a world struggling with AIDS.