On a cool winter's night in our nation's capital, a packed house of public health activists and policy makers came together to celebrate progress and remember those who have died of AIDS related diseases.
When I tested positive in the spring of 2005, it felt like the end of the world. HIV was this boogieman that I had been taught to hate and fear since before I really understood how sex worked, and suddenly this monster was inside me.
As we mark this World AIDS Day, the time has come to set aside ideology, reintegrate our global initiatives, and focus on what works. In many parts of the world, the key to making HIV prevention work is to combine it more fully with family planning and reproductive health care.
Just as we have the knowledge to prevent almost every mother from dying needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth, we can prevent 390,000 children being born HIV-positive, most of whom will die by their second birthday.
As employees of mothers2mothers, mothers living with HIV are trained to educate and support newly-diagnosed pregnant women -- to help them stay healthy and take the necessary steps to avoid transmitting HIV to their babies.
Suddenly we jumped from Miss Fire Island 1983 to Miss Fire Island 1998. Um, what? At first, I was like, "Are all those queens from the '80s and '90s really so busy they can't be here?" Then I got it: the missing queens weren't missing. They were gone.
It is important for me to tell those who are newly diagnosed to understand, having HIV does not mean your life is over. You have a lot to live for, and I am an example of what happens when one doesn't give up.
On World AIDS Day -- and truly every day -- it's important to remember that our most powerful weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS is -- and has always been -- our voice. So talk to someone you love or care for today about HIV.
This year marks 30 years after the first discovery of AIDS cases in the United States. While we have come a long way, we have much more work to do. Our country's global leadership will never be more important than at this pivotal moment.
Both the prevention of HIV infection and the life-saving effects of antiretroviral treatment are critically important, but unfortunately there has been a tension between the allocation of resources for HIV prevention vs. those for treatment in strategies to end the pandemic.
On this World AIDS Day -- 30 years after the first cases of HIV were reported in the U.S. and with 34 million people currently infected worldwide -- there is finally a roadmap for ending the AIDS epidemic globally and achieving an AIDS-free generation.
Dr. Sabrina Bakeera-Kitaka could have joined the thousands of medical professionals who leave Africa every year for employment opportunities in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. Instead, she stayed close to home to make a difference.
It's a time to reflect on the fact that we all have a role to play in ending the AIDS epidemic. And one of the most important ways we can stop AIDS in its tracks is simply by fighting stigma and homophobia.
Shouldn't we immediately ramp up access to HAART for everyone in the world who needs it? Of course we should. However, that's easier said than done. Providing universal ARV therapy globally will be expensive.
There's no better way to observe World AIDS Day than to pledge to protect yourself and your prospective partners from HIV. And if there's any tool we have to prevent the continued spread of the virus, it's the much-maligned condom.