Much of the media coverage and focus of World AIDS Day seems to be on the global pandemic. While of course absolutely justified, it seems that the epidemic here in the US gets short shrift. I know I am not alone in thinking the primary reason remains who is affected by this disease - MSM, men who identify as gay or bisexual, women of color and others.
A pictorial in the HIV focused magazine Positively Aware take the issue head-on in their most recent issue in a moving, beautiful and inspiring pictorial called "A Day with HIV in America.
The printed pictorial and dozens of more photos can be seen here. There are three galleries, morning, afternoon and evening, all worth a look.
Taken in cities and towns around the country on September 21, 2010, this series of 100 photos - of which only 26 were selected for the print edition - puts a human face on AIDS by depicting a diverse range of HIV-positive Americans as they live their everyday lives.
Jeff Berry, the editor of the magazine, has said, "For many people, World AIDS Day is a somber day of remembrance for those who have died from the disease, and a day to educate on how to prevent transmission of the disease. Yet as vital as these aspects are, World AIDS Day should also be a day for hope. 'A Day With HIV In America' reminds us that HIV-positive people are not victims marching towards the grave, nor can they be easily categorized. We represent all sexual orientations, races, ages, and walks of life, and we are living full, complete lives."
Today of all days we should be thinking about the real people and the real stories of those living with HIV and AIDS - this pictorial is one way to do that and honor all these we have lost and those who survive and thrive today. For them, their world is touched every day by HIV and AIDS and yet they remain hopeful, offering a message that all of us should pay heed to no matter what our status or circumstances.
For more information you can also check out the Test Positive Aware Network site. They're the publishers of Positively Aware.
Full disclosure: Renna Communications has the pleasure of working with Positively Aware on this issue.