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Today is World AIDS Day. And despite advances like PrEP, more health campaigns targeting queer people, and other social and technological developments, LGBTQ communities still struggle with HIV/AIDS every day, from dealing with the disease to fighting the stigma that often comes with it. And young people aren’t out of the woods, either. There’s a lot to do.

  • Get tested to learn your status here
  • Learn about how to honor World AIDS Day here
  • Find an event to attend here
  • Support an HIV/AIDS-related charity here, here, here, here or here.

Whatever you do, do something.

So we come up to the end of 2014...

… and many people will say, ‘2014 went so fast’, ‘what, it’s 2015 already?, it was like 2008 yesterday’

But so many important things happened this year

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(Ukraine, February, 2014)

So many important things

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(Hong Kong Umbrella Riots, September 2014)

in which people united

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(Ferguson, USA, August 2014)

to stand up for justice

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(Malala wins the Nobel Peace Prize, December 2014)

to stand up for what they believe in

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(Beyonce’s Feminist performance at the VMAs, August 2014)

a year when millions of us took to twitter to campaign against inequality

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(YesAllWomen tweeted 1.2 million times in 2014 in response to NotAllMen)

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(Eric Garner’s last words have been named ‘most notable quote of the year’, December 2014)

a year when we remembered those who fell in years past

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(Poppies at the Tower of London mark 100 years since WWI, November 2014)

and paused to remember what once divided us

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(25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall)

we also mourned many more recent loses

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(Flight MH17 is shot down over Ukraine, 298 people die, June 2014)

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(Michael’s Browns family at his Funeral, August 2014)

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(Flowers are laid in Sydney after two hostages die at hands of gunman, December 2014)

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(Memorial for the 141 students and teachers killed in a terrorist attack on their school in Peshawar, Pakistan, December 2014)

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(Ebola kills 7,373 and counting in Western Africa, 2014)

and prayed for those who are still missing

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(Flight MH370 went missing, with 239 people on board, March 2014)

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(219 school girls taken by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram remain missing, Nigeria, April 2014)

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(43 students missing in Mexico are feared dead, November 2014)

But we cannot give up hope

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(Gay marriage is legalised in Finland, one of many places to legalise it this year, December 2014)

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(Protester in Thailand adopt Hunger Games Salute, October 2014)

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(Laverne Cox is Glamour Woman of the Year in a groundbreaking first for Trans women)

nor the courage to say what we need to say

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(Emma Watson’s He for She speech at the UN, September 2014)

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(Ellen Page admits she is gay in a tearful speech, February 2014)

So when people say, ‘Nothing happened this year’

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(The Scottish people vote ‘No’ for independence from Great Britain)

Remind them what happened this year

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(We landed a probe on a comet! Philae lands, November 2014)

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(A Baby with HIV is cured after a breakthrough drug treatment, June 2014)

Because 2014 was a year that happened

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(Ellen’s Oscar Selfie breaks twitter, March 2014)

We all lived through it

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(Protests continue throughout New York against racist police brutality, December 2014)

and now we have to remember it

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(Germany wins the world cup in Rio)

because forgetting would mean it meant nothing

when 2014 was important

remember that

Remember it for those who cannot remember it for themselves

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(Robin Williams, 1951-2014)

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(Michael Brown, 1996-2014)

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(The 288 people, mostly students, who died in a ferry accident in South Korea, May 2014)

So we can look ahead to 2015, knowing we have made mistakes, but also growing as people and continuing to do what is right

I hope you all have a great holiday season and a happy new year in peace, but please remember all those on this list that didn’t make it through this year. Thank you.

Q: Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement [from] the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta that AIDS is now an epidemic and [they] have over 600 cases?

Speakes: What’s AIDS?

Q: Over a third of them have died. It’s known as the “gay plague.” [LAUGHTER] No, it is. It’s a pretty serious thing that one in every three people that get this have died. And I wondered if the President is aware of it?

Speakes: I don’t have it. Do you? [LAUGHTER] You didn’t answer my question! [LAUGHTER]

Q: No, I don’t. Well, I just wondered does the President —

Speakes: How do you know? [LAUGHTER]

Q: In other words, the White House looks on this as a great joke?

Speakes: No, I don’t know anything about it, Lester.

Q: Does the President? Does anybody in the White House know about this epidemic, Larry?

Speakes: I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s been any —

Q: Nobody knows?

Speakes: There has been no personal experience here, Lester. [LAUGHTER]

Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis was made. The cause of the outbreak is unknown, and there is as yet no evidence of contagion. But the doctors who have made the diagnoses, mostly in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area, are alerting other physicians who treat large numbers of homosexual men to the problem in an effort to help identify more cases and to reduce the delay in offering chemotherapy treatment.

This was how it began. 

Today is World AIDS Day. We’ve come a long, long way since 1981 but we’ve still got a ways to go to end stigma, to make treatments affordable and to find a cure.

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Today is World AIDS Day. We’ve come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but the epidemic still affects millions worldwide. In the world we want, your health and your access to care don’t depend on your postal code.

We can create the world we want with HIV prevention and health care access for all — and we’re committed to fighting for it. 

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#weareALLclean campaign hopes to eliminate the “dirty” stigma around HIV

ust in time for World AIDS Day, a new online campaign has launched to raise awareness on HIV, debunking the “dirtiness” unjustly attributed to those living with the virus. Activist Jack Mackenroth is the brains (and beauty) behind the operation, using his social media muscles to change perceptions while raising money at the same time.

"There are so many negative stereotypes, nasty slang words and blanket assumptions attached to being HIV-positive that most people aren’t willing to take the risk of even being associated with the disease.” 

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In honour of World AIDS Day, I wanna take the opportunity to honour Dr David Ho (1952-).

This Taiwanese-American HIV/AIDS researcher was the guy behind anti-retroviral therapy - the first truly effective treatment of HIV, and is the reason why HIV carriers in rich countries today can expect to live to a ripe old age instead of dying in the flower of their youth.

And white gay boys still put “No AZNs” in their Grindr profiles… :(

Dr. David Ho, Man of the Year - Time Magazine

US (1996)

[Source]

David Ho in his laboratory within the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, New York, NY

US (2005)

[Source]

Selection of ARV compounds

Tanzania

[Source]

So I’ve had this sitting in my room for about a week. For my friends who don’t know and live in the US, almost all gay males can get this test kit for free through the CDC, results are free, it’s private, and it’s really important and your responsibility as a sexually active human to know your status. This website is just a really great resource: https://itestathome.org I urge everyone I know to take this opportunity and get tested.

I don’t know why I haven’t brought myself to do it yet, though. I have the kit. I suppose I’m just a bit afraid of what the test might say. I have no real reason to worry, I’ve never had anal sex without a condom. I have had unprotected oral sex though. Though transmission of HIV through oral sex is incredibly low, it’s still possible and a risk I now need to face having taken.

Photo by Delphine Goux/MSF

“My baby needs me to take HIV drugs everyday but I cannot walk 5 hours every month to get them”

Name: Ana Maria Manuel
Location: Mozambique

An HIV-positive pregnant or breastfeeding woman who is not on antiretroviral treatment has one out of three chance of transmitting the virus to her baby. In 2013, 240,000 children were infected through their mothers. When women like Ana, above, are on effective ARV treatment, the risk of transmitting the virus to babies is reduced to less than four percent. “I started treatment in 2005 thanks to my counselor who really encouraged me to be on ARVs,” says Ana. “I know it’s very important because I have three children. Because I am very serious about my treatment, they are thankfully all HIV-negative. But it’s hard to be good and adhere to treatment when the clinic is so far away.” On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, MSF is calling for health providers to adapt treatment to realities of patients’ lives: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/world-aids-day-portraits-my-life-my-hands

#WORLDAIDSDAY #DAYWITHOUTART

High resolution 18” x 24” poster of HIV/AIDS-related issues that affect Indigenous communities
. This poster coincides with World AIDS Day & Day With (out) Art. As with all our posters, feel liberated to print out & wheatpaste at will! 

HIV/AIDS Among American Indians & Alaska Natives (CDC wedsite).

Fast Facts:
-HIV affects AI/AN in ways that are not always apparent because of their small population sizes.

-Of all races/ethnicities, AI/AN had the highest percentages of diagnosed HIV infections due to injection drug use.
AI/AN face HIV prevention challenges, including poverty, high rates of STIs, and stigma.

-HIV is a public health issue among the approximately 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), who represent about 1.7%a of the US population. Compared with other racial/ethnic groups, AI/AN ranked fifth in estimated rates of HIV infection diagnoses in 2011, with lower rates than in blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders, and people reporting multiple races, but higher rates than in Asians and whites.

The Numbers:
Overall, the effect of HIV infection on AI/AN is proportional to their US population size. However, within the overall statistics of new HIV infections and diagnoses, certain measures are disproportionate in this population group relative to other races/ethnicities.

New HIV Infections:
In 2010, fewer than 1% (210) of the estimated 47,500 new HIV infections in the United States were among AI/AN.

HIV/AIDS Diagnoses & Deaths:
-AI/AN men accounted for 76% (161) and AI/AN women accounted for 24% (51) of the estimated 212 AI/AN diagnosed with HIV infection in the United States in 2011.

-Of the estimated 161 HIV diagnoses among AI/AN men in 2011, most (75%; 120) were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.

-Of the estimated 51 HIV diagnoses among AI/AN women in 2011, the majority (63%, 32) were attributed to heterosexual contact.

-In the United States in 2011, both male and female AI/AN had the highest percent of estimated diagnoses of HIV infection attributed to injection drug use, compared with all races/ethnicities. Among men, 11% (17) of new HIV diagnoses were attributed to injection drug use and 7% (12) were attributed to both male-to-male sex and injection drug use. Among women 37% (19) of new HIV diagnoses were attributed to injection drug use.

-In 2011, an estimated 146 AI/ANwere diagnosed with AIDS, a number that has remained relatively stable since 2008.

-By the end of 2010, an estimated 1,945 AI/AN with an AIDS diagnosis had died in the United States. In 2010, HIV infection was the ninth leading cause of death among AI/AN aged 25 to 34. 

http://www.cdc.gov/HIV/risk/racialEthnic/aian/index.html

World AIDS Day
Observed on December 1st of every year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.

As of 2013, AIDS has killed more than 36 million people worldwide (1981-2012), and an estimated 35.3 million people are living with HIV,[2] making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Despite recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claims an estimated 2 million lives each year, of which about 270,000 are children.

Day With(out) Art
Day Without Art (DWA) began on December 1st 1989 as the national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis. To make the public aware that AIDS can touch everyone, and inspire positive action, some 800 U.S. art and AIDS groups participated in the first Day Without Art, shutting down museums, sending staff to volunteer at AIDS services, or sponsoring special exhibitions of work about AIDS. Since then, Day With(out) Art has grown into a collaborative project in which an estimated 8,000 national and international museums, galleries, art centers, AIDS Service Organizations, libraries, high schools and colleges take part.

In the past, Visual AIDS initiated public actions and programs, published an annual poster and copyright-free broadsides, and acted as press coordinator and clearing house for projects for Day Without Art/World AIDS Day. In 1997 we suggested Day Without Art become a Day WITH Art, to recognize and promote increased programming of cultural events that draw attention to the continuing pandemic. Though “the name was retained as a metaphor for the chilling possibility of a future day without art or artists”, we added parentheses to the program title, Day With(out) Art, to highlight the proactive programming of art projects by artists living with HIV/AIDS, and art about AIDS, that were taking place around the world. It had become clear that active interventions within the annual program were far more effective than actions to negate or reduce the programs of cultural centers.

R.I.S.E.

Radical
Indigenous
Survivance &
Empowerment

Info:
https://www.facebook.com/RISEIndigenous
contact: burymyart@gmail.com
____________________________.

The FDA’s Blood Products Advisory Panel met last week to discuss possibly lifting the government’s decades-old ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM). And the outcome was not good.

Even though a Department of Health and Human Services panel voted almost unanimously to reduce the policy to a one-year deferral, the FDA panel failed to side with them. As it stands, the policy bans MSM from donating blood for life, regardless of their HIV status. 

The FDA panel didn’t even formally make a decision; they closed the discussion before taking a vote. And while the panel doesn’t have the authority to change the policy, the FDA takes its advice into strong consideration when making decisions.

As this Slate article (and many others) points out, the blood ban is at this point rooted in discrimination alone; HIV-detection technology has evolved so that a person’s status can be checked quickly and accurately, all donated blood is tested for HIV, and even so, straight people who have slept with different-sex partners who are HIV-positive only have to wait a year to donate, rather than being banned for life.

The panel’s refusal to advise replacing the lifetime ban with a one-year deferral—twinned with its craven refusal to go on the record as opposing it—is deeply irritating. Even more galling is its reasoning, or lack thereof: It’s clear that the advisers on the panel saw the campaign to lift the blood ban as more a political crusade than a scientific appeal. (Apparently, they haven’t checked in with American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, the American Association of Blood Banks, and the American Medical Association, all of which oppose the ban.) “It sounds to me like we’re talking about policy and civil rights” rather than safety and science, one adviser scoffed. Another anxiously described lowering the ban as “a leap of faith.”

This language is quite curious. The advisers were not considering abolishing the gay blood ban altogether; they were simply considering replacing it with a new ban that forces gay men to be celibate for a year before donating. Their stated opposition to gay blood donation is a fear that HIV-positive men will donate. But every blood donation is tested for HIV, and the virus can now be detected within weeks of infection. If gay men were celibate for a year before their donation, how could they possibly carry an increased risk for HIV? If they were already HIV-negative prior to a year of celibacy, how could they even have HIV at all?

Parse this chain of reasoning, and the Blood Products Advisory Panel’s true fear is obvious: It is afraid gay men will lie. The advisers won’t support a one-year deferral because they believe gay men will lie about how long they’ve been celibate in order to donate blood. There’s just no other way to justify opposition to a one-year deferral.

Infuriating. It is officially more important to this panel to uphold ancient discriminatory stereotypes than to literally save lives. We’re in a permanent blood shortage; this policy locks out millions of potential donors. For whose benefit?