I can’t run a blog about the LGBT community without talking about HIV and how it has shaped our community. I watched The Normal Heart (HBO) recently and educated myself a bit on the North American epidemic in the 80’s that killed hundreds and hundreds of people of the LGBT community.
When it first broke out, people were dying on a weekly basis. And what’s worse, they originally didn’t know where it was coming from. They called it ‘gay cancer’. Some people thought it was an biblical karmic retribution for homosexuality. Some even theorized that it was a military-made disease meant as a genocide of the homosexual community. It was fucking bad. Can you imagine how it must have been then? Best friends dying with no support, unsure of why? We have it so good now. Almost too good.
Now, not only is there education on how HIV/AIDS can be contracted, but there is even medication that helps you live your life to its fullest. But to this day, there is still no cure. Talking about being HIV positive is an extremely touchy subject because I don’t want to minimize the fact that there is a community that still lives with this.
I have had the opportunity to talk to men who are HIV positive and many say,
“it’s a different disease now, people don’t understand that it really isn’t that bad, there’s such a stigma around it, people need to educate themselves with the concept of being undetectable”
Whether we like it or not, the AIDS epidemic is deeply entrenched in our past and from it, we must learn and always always always stay aware and safe. If not for yourself, then on behalf of all the people who had to die of this terrible disease to give us the awareness, research and preventative tools that we have today.