This is a day where I remember.
Silence=Death, Keith Haring, 1989.
I've written before about what it was like growing up during the AIDS crisis.
I don't think of those men often. Perhaps I should. The least I could do is think about them today, and what they taught me.
They taught me to talk. To learn. To think.
In recent months, I've made a point of reading up about HIV/AIDS. From reading personal blogs to research on HIV prevention to dialogues around everything from bareback pornography and more. There are stories that need to be heard, understood and shared. As a journalist, I think it's important to help do this.
In a recent op-ed written by Michael Burtch, the author points out many of the issues still felt by people who are poz:
If you’ve ever used the word “clean,” for instance, to describe an
HIV-negative person, congratulations: you’ve succeeded in making my life
a little more difficult. You’ve quite frankly made having HIV that much
more exhausting and depressing. [...] At a point in time – now – when HIV is a treatable chronic condition,
preferable to diabetes, how is it that the stigma surrounding this
disease has remained so bad it’s driven some of us to take our own
lives? The answer, of course, lies in how pervasive stigma is.
This is why we need to talk about HIV and sexual health.
This is why this day matters.
This is why testing matters.
This is why I am writing this.
This is why I want to talk more, learn more and think more.
Until we understand.
Until the discussion is moot.