Friday, December 01, 2006


AIDS is a story often told by numbers. 40 million infected with HIV. 5 million just last year. 12 million orphans in Africa. 8,000 deaths and 6,000 new infections every single day. In some places, 90% of those with HIV do not know they have it. And we just learned that AIDS is set to become the 3rd leading cause of death worldwide in the coming years.

These numbers are staggering and they help us understand the magnitude of this pandemic. But when repeated by themselves, statistics can also numb - they can hide the individual stories and tragedies and hopes of those who live the daily drama of this disease.

We must realize that the AIDS victim in Africa presents us with the same challenge as the gang member in South Central, or the Katrina victim in New Orleans, or the uninsured mother in North Dakota.

With an estimated 1.1 million HIV- positive individuals living in the U.S., and approximately 40,000 new infections occurring every year, the U.S., like other nations around the world is deeply affected by HIV/AIDS. Women of color account for 80 percent of all women estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS.

We can turn away from these Americans, and blame their problems on themselves, and embrace a politics that's punitive and petty, divisive and small.

Or we can embrace another tradition of politics - a tradition that has stretched from the days of our founding to the glory of the civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another - and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done for the people with whom we share this Earth.



cats said...

b obama is my new favorite too.

remembering all those lost and suffering and living from/with AIDS.

ps. i swear to you my word verification is one letter off from vulva.

Anonymous said...

Hi Don
I don't wish to decry your comments on HIV but I think we should strike some balance here.

According to WHO stats - cancer (which of course includes AIDS related) accounted for 56 million deaths last year alone and they estimate an increase of 50% by 20/20 - now that is extremely alarming and also effects the gay community like any other.

i think sometimes we lose sight of the fact that cancer (non AIDS related) causes the death of many more in our community - so whilst red ribbons and donations to that cause are a wonderful thing - there is a far bigger and less fashionable killer amongst us all in every community.

Leone x