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Charles Winters, Gay Socialites: Today is National Gay Men’s HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day. How aware are you?

Today is National Gay Men’s HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day. How aware are you?
by Charles Winters, September 27, 2011

The National Association of People Living with AIDS (NAPWA) offers these chilling yet important facts:

Too much of what was true in 2008 is still true today:

  • At least 1.1 million Americans are living today with HIV.
  • Half of them are men who have sex with men.
  • One in five doesn’t know he is infected.
  • At least half, possibly as many as three-quarters of new infections come from people who don’t know they are infected themselves.
  • There is no cure yet for HIV. “Cocktail” drugs control the virus and keep us alive, but even with the “cocktail, life with HIV is no picnic.

What’s new in 2011?

  • If we’re positive, we do better medically if we know it early and start treatment early.
  • When we’re in treatment, we’re less likely to infect others. (But don’t throw out your condoms!)
  • We have tools today to slow the epidemic down: treatment as prevention, PrEP for high-risk groups [Lancet says this is contraindicated —rk], and our old friends Safe(r) Sex and Safe(r) drug use. We were here at the epidemic’s beginning. Let’s be here for its end!
 While a day that remembers those living with HIV/ AIDS might seem somber to some, those survivors see it as a great thing as they’re still with us.

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