Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-04-16
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Frankly speaking: Expert tips to plan your wedding expertly Frankly speaking: Expert tips to plan your wedding expertly
Requesting the honor of your presence: All about the paper Once you ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

VIEWPOINTS Finding the DNA of AIDS activism
by Suraj Madoori
2012-11-07

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


In the How to Survive a Plague, David France's new documentary on the history of AIDS activism, we find our activist movement reflected in a mirror that only time can provide.

The images are striking, disturbing and incredibly moving. People with HIV—their depleted bodies with translucent skin stretched over thin bony frames, pocked with vivid lesions of Kaposi's sarcoma—spiral toward AIDS and certain death.

And yet they fought. Organizing under the moniker ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), they entrenched themselves in the offices of the Food & Drug Administration, demanding treatment for an unstoppable disease ravaging their communities in 1987.

The documentary is both a powerful history lesson and a clarion call to action for the present day. More than 30 years after the first HIV diagnosis, much progress has been made in treatment, prevention and politics.

But look no further than Chicago to understand that HIV/AIDS is still a plague in the poorest communities of color. African-Americans in the city represent nearly 60 percent of the people living with HIV ( www.aidschicago.org/pdf/chicago_factsheet_2010.pdf&. Hispanic Chicagoans represent 26 percent, but make up 16 percent of new infections in the city.

The question is whether we still have the courage and urgency to act up.

The progress of the past 30 years has been vast and won't be fully detailed here. Today, more than 30 different treatments are available. The FDA approved the use of treatment as prevention. Recently, we even witnessed an instance of a person being cured of his HIV, a man known in medical circles as "the Berlin patient." ( www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57479106-10391704/timothy-ray-brown-man-thought-to-be-first-cured-of-aids-says-hes-still-cured/ )

Such progress is a direct result of men and women affected by HIV/AIDS crying out for public health attention to innovations in treatment and prevention. However, challenges loom large, despite progress in the areas of treatment and prevention.

HIV/AIDS disproportionately burdens communities of color in the United States, with nearly 1.2 million infected nationally, a majority of those are from the African-American and Hispanic communities.

Despite being minority communities, African-Americans continue to account for 44 percent of new infections ( www.cdc.gov/HIV/topics/aa/index.htm&. The rate of infections is especially disturbing among communities of young black gay and bisexual men. Latest data finds that their rate of infection is comparable to countries in sub-Saharan Africa that are hardest hit by the epidemic ( www.hptn.org/web%20documents/IndexDocs/HPTN061ResultsPR23Jul2012.pdf&. About 20 percent of new infections came from the Hispanic community.

Nationally, African-American women are second only to gay men in HIV prevalence. In 2009, three-fourths of women in Illinois infected with HIV were Black ( www.aidschicago.org/pdf/women_factsheet_2010.pdf).

Unstable funding forces storied AIDS service organizations to close ( www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/HIV-AIDS-agency-BEHIV-folds-AFC-responds-to-charges-UPDATE/30181.html ), shrinking health access to communities and placing increasing stress upon an already resource-strapped health system. This year, Illinois was hit with a 42 percent funding cut in HIV funding for community services. HIV services are not unique here, of course. States are putting a disturbing array of health and human services on the chopping block in their efforts to shrink budgets.

Social injustices are driving the epidemic. Issues of economic injustice, such as unstable housing and unemployment, impact the mental, physical health and well being of those struggling with HIV. Loss of harm reduction funding makes it difficult for people to find and exchange clean needles. Struggles in the recognition of the rights of drug users and sex workers continue to impede efforts in turning the tide on the epidemic for communities that are most vulnerable and at highest risk.

Those scenes of 1987 depicted in the documentary warrant an analysis of how government and public health entities progressed, digressed, and now find themselves at a crossroads of truly changing the course of the epidemic at this juncture.

The Affordable Care Act represents a first step of providing unprecedented access to health care for millions who are uninsured, HIV-positive or not. Certain pieces of that legislation have already been implemented; others go into effect in 2014. The outcome of the presidential election will determine the extent to which the ACA is implemented.

Activists in 1987 helped science catch up to the advocacy, the effects of which can still be felt today. In contrast, the HIV/AIDS community today finds itself at the very same crossroads and a new opportunity to help the political will catch up to the voices of the present HIV/AIDS activist movement.

When we look to the DNA of our advocacy, we find the bold men and women featured in How to Survive a Plague were mere ordinary people—just like us. When exposed to the injustices of social exclusion and crippling disease, they fought back for visibility and did extraordinary things, changing the future course of the global epidemic.

Now, we must do the same. Let's act up like it's 1987.

Suraj Madoori is a fellow for the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, a national AIDS-activism coalition convened by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Find out how you can get involved with ending the AIDS epidemic by visiting the HIV Prevention Justice Alliance website: www.countdownaids2012.org .


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

VIEWS: ALMA 25 years later: No longer on the margins 2014-04-16
VIEWS Sexual harassment in the queer community 2014-04-16
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL: LGBTs in immigration detention facilities 2014-04-15
Letters to the editor: Poll position, Terrible trifecta 2014-04-15
VIEWS Why Sexual Assault Awareness Month important to all 2014-04-10
Letter to the editor: Pigeon-holed? 2014-04-09
Superfriends for the Struggle: Mentors and Icons 2014-04-09
A mother reacts to gay son's marriage 2014-04-09
MOMBIAN Classic film about lesbian mothers now on DVD 2014-04-09
Religion & Nationalism 2014-04-02
VIEWS How media criminalizes HIV and how to change it 2014-04-01
Letters to the editor: Pigeon-holed? 2014-04-01
"What's between your legs?" the new "So what do you do in bed?" 2014-03-26
VIEWS Forgiving and remembering 2014-03-26
VIEWS God hates funerals? 2014-03-25
VIEWS The state of Black LGBT people and families 2014-03-19
Is CeCe McDonald Free? 2014-03-12
VIEWS Trans roles in Hollywood 2014-03-12
VIEWS Why the March judicial primaries should tick you off 2014-03-12
VIEWS Speaking out for Quinn's support of women, children 2014-03-07
Religion: What Is It? 2014-03-05
VIEWS Ron Dorfman's impact on journalism 2014-03-05
VIEWS: MOMBIAN 'Jacob's New Dress' adds to growing genre 2014-02-26
VIEWS Marriage equality and protecting Our friends 2014-02-24
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL LGBT seniors and Social Security benefits 2014-02-19
LETTERS Smoke screened 2014-02-19
VIEWS Hoffman kept LGBTQ presence in movies 2014-02-12
Cultural Q's: In Memory of Jose E. Munoz: Making Queer Future 2014-02-12
Valentine Day: The Saint(s) and the Legend The Saint(s) 2014-02-05
VIEWS Remembering Gwen Avery (1943-2014) 2014-02-05
VIEWS Creating change as an LGBT parent 2014-01-29
VIEWS Indiana needs you 2014-01-29
VIEWS On Nigeria's anti-LGBT law 2014-01-21
VIEWS On Jared Leto and Dallas Buyers Club 2014-01-17
VIEWS Robin Roberts loosens grip of Black homophobia 2014-01-15
LETTERS Confrontation 2014-01-15
Your winter blues: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? 2014-01-14
Cultural Q's: Hearts, Minds, Laws, Art: Mandela legacy 2014-01-08
VIEWS Nate's justice 2014-01-07
Open To Thinking 2014-01-01





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

'This Is What It Feels Like' to be Armin van Buuren
 
Gay-owned B&B offers warmth in Rogers Park
 
Police expect to release footage of Boystown assailant
 
BENT NIGHTS Sharon Corr; Dum Dum Girls; Landmarks
 
NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher on gay marriage, future
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.