December 1st was World AIDS Day, and the U.S. Government theme for this year was ‘Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.” In recognition of this global observance in the HIV community, the AIDS.gov Black Voices bloggers shared their individual perspectives on one question: Is World AIDS Day a celebration or a call to action?
“World AIDS Day is both a celebration and a call to action. It’s a celebration, because it allows us the opportunity as a global community to see how far we have come from the beginning of this epidemic. In that same retrospect, we are able to see how far we have to go to achieve a true AIDS-free generation.” – Kahlib Barton
“World AIDS Day is a time for me to reflect on the personal victories and lessons that the past year has taught me by taking an emotional inventory on how this epidemic has impacted me and/or the communities I exist in. I use this day to ask myself “How do I sustain the success of what I learned in this past year and how do I apply those teachings in the years to come?” My hope with this practice is not only to make me a better artist and activist, but a better tool and conduit for the victories to come.” – Ken Williams
“I think it’s both—a celebration AND a call to action. Take DC for example: there were 4,330 HIV cases diagnosed between 2008-2012. The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases declined each year from 1,180 cases in 2008 to 680 cases in 2012 [PDF 949KB]. To me, that shows that we are doing something right. The HIV Care Continuum Initiative has created a great model for testing people, diagnosing those who are infected, linking them to care, retaining them in care, prescribing them ARVs, and ultimately assisting in their viral suppression. But what about the 1 in 7 in the U.S. who are infected and don’t know it? How do we reach them? Let’s continue to collectively answer that call to action first!” – Guy Anthony
“World AIDS Day is a call to action and a day dedicated to the epidemic. It allows for reflection on where we have been and a chance to share our individual and collective visions to eradicate HIV. I will continue to try my personal best to inform, empower and motivate my friends and loved ones to get tested and know their HIV status. I encourage you to do the same.This day starts and continues conversations about HIV, no matter your language or location.” – Anthony Roberts Jr.
“I believe that World AIDS Day is both a call to action and a day to honor the people who have lost their lives to this devastating epidemic. It’s a call to individuals living with the virus to continue to take care of their health and mental wellness. It’s a call to advocates, community leaders, and government officials to renew their efforts to continuing the hard work needed to eradicate HIV/AIDS in our communities.” – Venton Jones
“World AIDS Day is a moment of celebration but a continued call to action. Every year on this date, I am reminded of my HIV diagnosis; however, it motivates me to do more mobilizing and advocacy work within my community. This World AIDS Day, let’s take notice of the current events going on in our community, and realize that we have to work collectively and in numbers to see effective change to address inequities in our community. More importantly, it is essential that we reinvigorate or create new collaborations and hold leadership positions at important advocacy tables, be system influencers, etc.” – Patrick Ingram
“For over three decades, tremendous progress has been made to end HIV. Yet the epidemic continues to impact thousands of Americans each year and exacts a disproportionate burden on the Black community, especially our young men and boys. We know the science. Now we have data. We have more biomedical tools and supportive policy frameworks than ever before. So World AIDS Day is a call to use what we know and the tools we have and take action. It’s also a reminder that no matter how great our scientific advances, we can’t end HIV until we address the social drivers of the epidemic, especially in disproportionately impacted communities.” – Meico Whitlock
What are your thoughts? Is World AIDS Day a celebration or a call to action? Comment below.