Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-05-27
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Writing For Justice: Diversity in our entertainment matters 2015-05-27
BOOK REVIEWS How Long Will I Cry?; Anatomy of a Girl Gang 2015-05-27
Homeless youth and reproductive justice 2015-05-20
Relationships & the Law Today: Possible Supreme Court marriage outcomes 2015-05-13
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Stop prison rape 2015-05-13
MARK MY WORDS Most important LGBT history column you'll ever read 2015-05-13
VIEWS Getting married 2015-05-13
Open To Thinking: Rand Paul, Libertarian!? 2015-05-06
VIEWS Victory is at hand 2015-05-06
VIEWS: Peeing in Peace 2015-04-29
LETTERS Issues and answers 2015-04-22
VIEWS Conversion therapy's deadly outcomes 2015-04-22
VIEWS Writing For Justice: The dangerous myth of individualism 2015-04-15
VIEWS: MOMBIAN New edition enlivens 'Two Mommies' for families today 2015-04-15
Transforming Gender: The Edge of the Knife 2015-04-08
Larry Kramer: Thirty-four years and counting 2015-04-08
VIEWS In God we crust 2015-04-08
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Double standards 2015-04-07
Open To Thinking: On Religion 2015-04-01
VIEWS Paying tribute to Andrew Patner 2015-04-01
PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Stan Dale Boyer dies 2015-03-29
Reproductive Justice at the Intersections: Abortion access is an LGBT issue 2015-03-25
VIEWS The love that dare not speak its name 2015-03-25
Letters: Going for Garcia 2015-03-25
VIEWS Discrimination is not religious freedom 2015-03-18
LETTERS: A matter of money 2015-03-18
VIEWS Stunned in Selma 2015-03-14
Writing For Justice: Does voting actually matter? 2015-03-11
VIEWS Boston's forgotten role in the women's movement 2015-03-11
Open To Thinking: Remembering Selma 2015-03-04
VIEWS The second coming of the man who would be queen 2015-03-04
VIEWS Gay or not, polo harms horses 2015-03-04
VIEWS: MOMBIAN Equity in the doctor's office 2015-03-04
Transcending the Blacklist: Coalitions consist of distinct communities 2015-02-25
VIEWS A road map beyond Black History Month 2015-02-25
MARK MY WORDS Loss of a pioneer 2015-02-25
LETTERS Not cool for school 2015-02-18
VIEWS LGBT parenting is a reproductive justice issue 2015-02-18
Black Youth Project 100, changing world one meeting at a time 2015-02-11
VIEWS Remembering the Lovings this Valentine's Day 2015-02-11
 



Copyright © 2015 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



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     
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.