Disclosing one's HIV-positive status is like coming out all over again. Many of my friends experienced embarrassment, misunderstanding, stigma and cruelty, even from their closest friends and family members.
A crucial part of achieving an AIDS free generation is recruiting a new contingent of HIV and AIDS activists to carry on the work that my uncle began. That is why I joined GMHC's Millennial Committee which is developing new, young donors.
On Saturday, Dec. 8, we bore witness to our "angels in America" -- our continuum of GMHC families. First stop: the Harlem Children's Zone, the location of the annual holiday party for families that GMHC works with who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Many people in NYC living with or affected by HIV and AIDS were hit hard. Our clients are among the poorest and most vulnerable New Yorkers, and the outcome of the hurricane continues to have a disproportionate impact on them.
What was captivating about the 2012 International AIDS Conference was the vision of an AIDS-free generation that was often invoked. We have the tools to get to "zero new HIV infections," though I am not convinced we have the collective commitment yet. And we definitely don't have the money.
On Saturday, August 11, we reflect on the first meeting of Gay Men's Health Crisis' six founders in a living room. We think of the horrors they experienced, the courage they summoned as new activists and their historic legacy.
While the word "stigma" sounds archaic and perhaps biblical, its lethal reach is ever-present, blocking people from HIV testing, imprisoning HIV-positive people in fear of rejection from families and friends, and setting up people for sexual violence if they try to negotiate safer sex.