What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV stands for human immuno-deficiency virus. It attacks cells that help the body fight infection.

AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome and refers to the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus.

 

What does HIV/AIDS have to do with LGBTQ+ folks and race?

HIV disproportionately affects the LGBTQ+ community, especially the transgender population. Transgender women in some communities are 49x more likely to be living with HIV than the general population. HIV also disproportionately affects people of color, especially Black folks.

When we consider that in most states, it is legal to discriminate against someone for being LGBTQ+ and that POC, especially Black folks, experience system racism & white supremacy, we understand that the lack of appropriate research and resources for those with HIV/AIDS is not a result of scarcity but rather of systemic discrimination.

During the epidemic’s peak, President Ronald Reagan remained silent. It took him four years to mention AIDS publicly. Nearly 90,000 folks died during his presidency—mostly LGBTQ+ and BIPOC folks. This silence and inaction was based in racism and queerphobia.

 

What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988. Each year, organizations and individuals across the world bring attention to the HIV epidemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward ending the HIV epidemic.

 

What can you do?

Reading this post is a great first step. Read more on my website (below) and then talk about it with a friend!

 

FURTHER LEARNING:

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/history/hiv-and-aids-timeline

https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/world-aids-day

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/about-hiv-and-aids/what-are-hiv-and-aids

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/hiv-stigma/index.html

https://www.hrc.org/resources/hrc-issue-brief-hiv-aids-and-the-lgbt-community

https://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/2014/2014gapreport/gapreport