I’ve long been conflicted by the naming and circus of World AIDS Day, but now I note it as a calling. It is a calling, a calling to think more Pozitively about HIV, AIDS and the compounding circumstances that effect HIV Survivors and those affected by it or in proximity to its acquisition. It’s a day to think about sexual responsibility, bodily autonomy and the freedom to simply be.
It’s also a reminder. A reminder to call a thing a thing. A reminder be critical of the AIDS Industrial Complex, where those who make the highest salaries are least impacted and least educated about the issue at hand. It’s a reminder that white, cis, heterosexism exists here too. It’s a reminder that many, if not most, AIDS Service Orgs are lead by HIV-negative, white folks, while they are staffed by trans, queer, str8 folks of color who are barely getting by. It’s a reminder that white supremacy works in HIV too, and non-profits are rarely the solution, just an imperfect tool in the age of capitalisms. When a President is making 300K but the bro/sis/womyn working 40-60 hours per organizing the community, getting folks tested and taking 3am suicide calls is making on 20K–if that–we have a moral crisis on our hands.
It’s a reminder to think about HIV Criminalization as a form of racial-sexual terror dipped in viral apartheid, nothing more, nothing less. It’s a call to become familiar with the science of the medicine–while reconnecting with the humanity of the living–that is fundamental to living with, at risk of, or loving someone with HIV.
We know that folks who are undetectable do not, cannot, will not transmit HIV. We also know that folks cannot be undetectable unless they can afford care, are supported in care and have quality holistic care.
Healthcare is not only a Human Right, as my boy Bernie says, but its a moral imperative. No matter our statuses, or the contents of our blood, we all deserve love, protection of the laws, the integrity of body protected by privacy and sexual autonomy and our entrusted with the cosmic responsibility to respect and protect ourselves through research and safe(r) sex practice.