In 1988, community members came together to found the first-ever global health day to raise awareness of the devastating toll the AIDS crisis was having on our communities. Today, we know it as World AIDS Day.
This day was created not only to honor the lives of so many friends, family members, and loved ones they’d lost, the World AIDS Day founders were also seeking to push our government to address the epidemic that was—up until then—fundamentally ignored by those in power.
Now, 31 years later, what we have achieved as a community has been nearly unimaginable—more than 40 Anti-Retroviral Therapy drugs have been developed to treat HIV, and there is a pill-a-day to prevent new infections.
Despite these advances, 1 in 7 people living with HIV across the nation do not know they have it, and a new person is diagnosed with HIV every 14 minutes in the United States.
The statistics are clear: HIV disproportionately impacts men of color who have sex with men. And this is an issue of equity, privilege, and access. The sad reality is that people still don’t have the information and resources they need to protect themselves.
But there are people and organizations across our region who are courageously working every single day to change this reality.
All of us at Pride Foundation are honored to partner with incredible organizations like Alaskan Aids Assistance Association, Butte Silver Bow Health Department, Open Aid Alliance, Cascade AIDS Project, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, HIV Alliance, Our House of Portland, Blue Mountain Heart to Heart, Affordable Housing and Treatment, U.T.O.P.I.A. Seattle, Seattle Counseling Services, Rainbow Center, Martha’s Pantry, PCAF, POCAAN, BABES Network, Gay City, Lifelong, The AMP, AIDS Project of Snohomish County, and others across the Northwest.
These organizations and others are working day in and day out to create a world where people living with HIV/AIDS no longer face stigma—a world where they have the resources to thrive and a community of support behind them.
Please join us in honoring World AIDS Day. Together, we can protect and educate our communities and ourselves, and support the individuals and organizations working every day to help end the epidemic.
Katie Carter is Pride Foundation’s CEO.
World AIDS Day Graphic Credit: <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com</a>