Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We Remember, We Honor, We Continue the Fight

We remember the thousands upon thousands of lives lost to HIV. We Honor the trailblazers who have struggled and fought so bravely for so long to bring us to where we are now. We Celebrate the progress that has brought longer, healthier lives with new medicines, new freedom and new hope in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Today, much has changed in the fight against HIV. As with many other diseases and infections, early detection can mean a person living with HIV can lead a long and healthy life, no longer condemned to early death, disability or sickness.  Beginning treatment early means medicines can reduce HIV viral loads quickly and almost entirely prevent transmission. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can prevent a person without HIV from becoming infected. Post-exposure propylaxis (PEP), when begun within 72 hours of exposure or accidents can prevent HIV infection. We now have more treatment and prevention tools than at any other time in history. This is a huge leap forward for a community devastated by HIV for more than 30 years!

Sadly, much remains the same. Most Americans and many San Diegans do not have access to accurate information about HIV disease today. Too many are left with the mental images and information of the late 1990s – information almost two decades out-of-date. Many non-specialist medical and mental health professionals continue to be unfamiliar with the detection and treatment of HIV, leading to dangerous delays in detection, testing and treatment.  Too many still continue to believe this is a disease of “moral character” instead of a battle against a virus. The resulting stigma attached to HIV keeps many silent, shamed or afraid. Too many in our communities – particularly communities of color, Trans and gender-fluid communities, youth communities, communities with fewer resources and those less privileged – have no reliable access to information, qualified medical care, medicines or prevention tools. Even in the face of groundbreaking new possibilities, these things have not changed. 


We can change what remains the same. We know this fight well. Science moves forward and so can we. We don’t have to be silenced. We don’t have to accept unfair, unequal treatment. We don’t have to accept continued stigma, ignorance, nor an America that continues to look the other way, leaving so many behind. Join us at AWSD 2015 and #bethegeneration that ends new cases of HIV.
#NoStigma #Undectable #PrEP #PEP

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