D Gregory Smith

I'm not writing a World AIDS Day column this year

Filed By D Gregory Smith | November 30, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: abstinence only education, brothers, George W. Bush, HIV/AIDS, inspiration, Lesbians, medication, red ribbon, side-effects, sisters, World AIDS Day

I'm not.

I wrote a column last year, and I think it's still completely relevant- with only a few updates of statistics, world aids day(1).jpggeographic and demographic trends.

I'm not going to talk about the rash of new HIV infections among young men, nor am I going to write about my suspicion that 8 years of Bush era abstinence-only education is probably fueling this epidemic among our youth and twenty-somethings.

I'm not going to discuss the massive saturation of HIV in gay/bi men in this country. How we are not working to support each other in getting tested and getting into care and reducing the amount of the virus that can possibly be spread.

I'm not going to harp about the same old shit that gets ignored every year. About how HIV is crippling our communities, draining our resources, affecting our self-esteem and still causing death.

I'm not.

Instead I'm going to concentrate on a few good things that I think may have been overlooked.

I am grateful for the way the women saved us back in the eighties and nineties by stepping up as activists, caregivers and friends. I'm grateful for my lesbian and transgendered sisters/brothers who bravely stood in the face of obstinate refusal by the government to take meaningful action. They still inspire me.

I'm grateful for the medications that have stemmed the flood of funerals that carried away so many lovely human beings. I'm grateful for the drug side-effects that are still better for me than an early death. I'm grateful for the way that my illness has allowed me to prioritize my life, helping me put aside pride, fear and shame to live as honestly and with as much integrity as I can muster. HIV, ironically, has made me look at my life and create it more closely in the image of my true values.

I'm not writing the normal column this year. Instead, I'm going to put on a red ribbon and go to an AIDS Day service. I'm going to gather with other people and remember that we still have work to do. I'm going to remember some very painful moments-and some very beautiful ones. I'm going to bring to mind some people that I haven't thought about all year and breathe a prayer of thanks for their place in my life. I'm going to hold the hand of a stranger, I'm going to light a candle and sing my gratitude and resolve to whoever it is that is listening.

And as I leave, I'm going to resolve to work harder this year to make life easier for people with HIV and to work harder so people won't get HIV.

And I know I won't be alone. That beats any column I could write.


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I recently wrote a psych paper on sex education and included a section on lgbt youth and your suspicions about bush's abstinence education fueling the epidemic among teens is 100 percent correct.
Its not a matter of opinion as some would spin it - the APA has been studying its effects for some time and base their (consistently ignored) recommendations in favor of comprehensive education. on these findings.

http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sex-education.pdf

I am SO going to follow up on this....
Thanks!

Oh how I wish you'd never have to write another one.

I know, but until we get our (collective) youth to pay attention....

-sigh-

Bravo! I've been struggling a great deal the past several months trying to balance my own health and activism...and a struggle its been. I also ponder whether it was worth writing a blog on World AIDS Day when so many in our community just don't give a damn - yet they should when they consider the increased risk factors.

The recent passing of a close friend and colleague, and other recent events have helped me see World AIDS Day a little clearer this year.

Thank you for acknowledging the critical role women and the transgender members of our community played in the early days when AIDS was known as GRID. Back then our community rallied and united as one. These days we find ourselves so fractured, leaving our own community in the shadows and many LGBTQ-advocacy groups steering clear of HIV/AIDS like it was the black plague when fighting for equality.

I share your perspective when you wrote the following:
"I'm grateful for the way that my illness has allowed me to prioritize my life, helping me put aside pride, fear and shame to live as honestly and with as much integrity as I can muster. HIV, ironically, has made me look at my life and create it more closely in the image of my true values."

Thank you, Michael.
Coming from you, that means a lot to me....