How bitterly ironic it would be if the first generation of HIV-positive seniors, a generation that, through unprecedented community effort, has managed to survive the plague, should in their last years fall victim to a system that is utterly unprepared to care for them.
In med school, future physicians are trained to look for the prosaic horse -- not the exotic zebra -- when making diagnoses. So I've been told, variously, that I'm a migraineur, a hypochondriac, a schizophrenic. But I'm none of those: I'm a zebra.
Those of us who tackled the AIDS epidemic head-on are facing a new plague -- the one that likely killed Spencer Cox. As yet unnamed, it manifests in aimlessness, depression, broken relationships, substance abuse, unsafe sex and suicide.
New York was Ground Zero in the 1980s for the activist AIDS movement known as ACT UP, and David France's wrenching documentary, How to Survive a Plague, captures that time as never before with footage he has gathered going 30 years back.
After seeing Benedict's latest attacks a few weeks ago, calling gay marriage a "threat to the future of humanity," I thought of my upcoming 25th anniversary of calling him out and how it changed my life. Was it wrong to do? Immature? Unproductive? I don't think so.
This death hit us hard. We have grappled to make sense of it. Why did he stop his meds? What role did his struggle with crystal meth play? Was this a failure of community? Are there lessons we can learn? These aren't just nosy questions by idle bystanders.
People who have HIV/AIDS are able to live longer than ever before, but only if they can get their hands on the drugs. AIDS is still very much a crisis. ACT UP SF is calling for free meds for low-income people, more affordable meds for everyone, and more transparency.
The new documentary How to Survive a Plague follows the rise and accomplishments of ACT UP, a political advocacy group that formed spontaneously in 1987 out of frustration and anger that both state and federal governments had done so little to address the AIDS epidemic.
As we wandered the raucous streets, filled with jubilant queers, I felt safe holding my partner Dana's hand in a way I rarely did, even in the Bay Area. To feel that way here in the nation's capital was exhilarating.
"Why We Fight" was a fiery 1988 speech given before a tumultuous crowd of angry ACT UP demonstrators at the New York State Capitol in Albany. Today, July 11, on what would have been Vito's 66th birthday, we present "Why We Fight" in its entirety.
San Francisco Pride 2012 had its wasted revelry, long Porta-Potty lines, and enough boys and girls to fill Civic Center a couple of times over -- all things we've come to expect and love from the celebration. What was different was the amount of radical activism coinciding with the festivities.
I began intensely editing United in Anger about three years ago and finished it at the end of 2011. What I have tried to convey is the urgency of people who, battling a deadly epidemic that threatened their lives, culture, and community, chose to fight back and remake the world.
In more than 25 years of reporting on AIDS, I have been honored to know many heroes of the AIDS epidemic. Not all of them have been as visible or vocal as Kramer and ACT UP, but the contributions they made, the prices they paid, the risks they took were just as real.
It's difficult to be grateful when the AIDS plague is worse than ever all over the world and the two organizations I helped found to stop it are, if not no more, then in such pathetic shape as to almost be no more.