The stigma associated with HIV is only partially to blame. More problematic is the difficulty of reaching the most vulnerable members of the U.S. population who are living with HIV but unaware of their status: racial and ethnic minorities, the poor and disenfranchised, and people who are homeless.
Last week UNAIDS released two reports -- its annual World AIDS Day report "Results" and the bi-annual "Global Report on the AIDS Epidemic." Both reports have one message: The pace of progress is unprecedented.
Last year, we celebrated 30 years of progress in the fight against AIDS. This year, let's celebrate World AIDS Day by looking forward. We've challenged ourselves by setting an ambitious goal of an AIDS-free generation. Let's examine where we are on our way to that goal.
How shall we live, knowing the time of youthful athletic prowess is brief, knowing, as HIV/AIDS reminds us, that life is fragile, precious and short? For me, in my life, with my time, I choose not to be a victim.
Is there truly the political will, the communal will, and the global funding to really change the course of this epidemic to get to where we need to be? While HIV is still not curable, it is treatable and certainly preventable.
Of great concern right now is that the remarkable progress toward ending AIDS that has been made over the past decades is being threatened by a decline in resources and the threat of budget cuts to support HIV research and services worldwide.
Despite a steady decline in HIV deaths, NYC remains an epicenter of the U.S. epidemic. But now, testing yourself for HIV will soon be simple. While celebrating this new drug, however, we must ensure it reaches those in greatest need.
Change is not easy, but the change taking place in Selma -- and across Alabama -- is building momentum for much broader systematic change in the southern communities hit hardest by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Our hope is that the correct actions are taken so that in a few decades, we do not look back and wonder why the tools that we have today were not utilized. There is no viable excuse for knowing now what we already know and still not doing the right thing.
When John, a deaf man from South Africa, went to his local clinic to get tested for HIV, the doctor was only able to communicate with him using hand-written notes. Fifteen minutes later, the doctor wrote in bold letters: "YOU ARE HIV POSITIVE."