December 1, 2010
Today is World AIDS day. And while we appreciate that the world stops to reflect and recommit itself to the fight against HIV every December 1st, every day is World AIDS Day at the Black AIDS Institute because ending AIDS requires work each and every day.
Next June will mark 30 years since the first AIDS cases were diagnosed in this country. The moment brings not only an opportunity for reflection, but also for a renewed commitment from each of us to do our part to finally end the spread of this disease.
No matter how you look at it, thru the lens of gender, sexual orientation, age, class, level of education or region of the country, Black people bear the brunt of the AIDS epidemic in America today. Those are the facts.
Thankfully, a growing number of organizations that recognize that ending AIDS is a year-long effort are slowly joining the effort. Today in America, there's a beginning of a new era of engagement on HIV/AIDS. Now, 30 years later, the country is engaged again -- with a national HIV/AIDS strategy, new scientific breakthroughs, and possibly a renewed sense of hope that, someday, we will be Greater Than AIDS.
I believe we -- as individuals, as a community, as a nation, as a family -- can be GREATER than AIDS. Last year, the Black AIDS Institute, together with our partners at the Kaiser Family Foundation, launched a national effort to mobilize Americans in response to HIV. Greater Than AIDS is about the role that each of us can play, including getting informed, getting tested, getting treated, and getting involved. By acting together, we can be Greater than AIDS.
That's why our resolve to end AIDS must not end today. Every day, in both large and small ways, whether we realize it or not, we experience deciding moments that maintain the status quo, move us backwards or propel us forward toward our goal of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our communities. Far too many of us continue to turn a blind eye or wait for someone else to solve this problem.
Action is greater than apathy.
There are some incredible individuals and institutions who demonstrate what it means to be Greater Than AIDS. Their stories -- indeed, their Deciding Moments -- challenge us to take action. There are no innocent bystanders in the fight against AIDS. What you decide to do or not to do makes a difference. Every deciding moment matters.
I have been living with HIV for 30-plus years. Every moment of my life is a deciding moment. I decide to care in the face of HIV/AIDS. I decide to fight apathy and complacency because of it. I decide to love in spite of it. Because I know it is in the caring, fighting and loving that I am greater than AIDS. And let me tell you something. Every moment of your life is a deciding moment as well. I know that you are greater than AIDS. The question is, are you willing to take action and prove it?