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Looking Back at 30 Years of AIDS

30 Years of AIDS ButtonOne month ago, June 5, 2011 commemorated 30 years of AIDS in the U.S. Much has changed since 1981 (see this timeline for a history of AIDS).

Not only has the epidemic changed, but so has how we communicate with each other. I remember what an impact the fax machine had on how we shared information about the epidemic. Thirty years ago I remember reading about gay-related immune deficiency (GRID) in the newspaper. I talked about it with my friends and colleagues….my social network.

But information didn’t move like it does today. It wasn’t as dynamic, as social as it is today.  That was before the internet, before blogs, way before Facebook and Twitter. So while it was a shared experience, it was isolated to our immediate social networks. Today our social networks reach far beyond where we could even imagine 30 years ago. In 140 characters, our tweets can reach 100,000 people. We can create videos, send text messages, produce podcasts…so many forms of media are available to us.

I think that’s pretty powerful.

If you’ve followed this blog or AIDS.gov, you probably know that we believe in the power of new media in response to HIV. And the reason is that I truly believe in the power of new media to make a difference. I believe that we have an obligation, as consumers, as providers, as community members, to understand how to use these tools. They help us collaborate, create, communicate and listen. If these tools existed 30 years ago, we may have had a very different experience. I encourage you to learn, or continue to learn, about the power of new media.

Finally, I leave you with some summer reading – related links around 30 years of AIDS:

And don’t miss these videos:

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