Andrew Spieldenner, Ph.D.
United States People Living With HIV Caucus
The year 2016 has been a strange one in HIV. We had exciting news about the efficacy of treatment and we were recognized in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, yet our voices seem to be dimmed at HIV organizations, government agencies and even planning bodies.
We heard about "intersectionality" when doing advocacy and social justice work; never has that been more pronounced.
We had amazing meetings as people living with HIV in the United States.
We met each other at conferences, at community planning meetings, at advisory boards, at bars, at coffee shops, online, in waiting rooms -- everywhere.
As advocates, organizations and state agencies touted the "end of the epidemic" through plans, press releases, initiatives and media articles, I dealt with friends who were newly diagnosed, friends attempting to manage an overly bureaucratic and difficult public benefits system, friends who were between jobs or needed a place to stay, friends who were discovering mental illness, admitting to addiction and losing their relationships. I realized that, even if everyone had HIV treatment access and adherence, we would still need supportive services, still need each other -- to talk, to advise, to share, to bond, to love, to find a path through the precarity of our lives.
Read Andrew Spieldenner's full reflection on the year in empowerment for people living with HIV.
Credit: Positive Women's Network - USA.