Showing the “missing pieces” of HIIV prevention puzzle in the United States, more about three hundred people poured into the downtown Atlanta streets for the PJM Unity Rally and March in Atlanta, GA, on Tuesday, December 4th, where the National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) ended on Wednesday. People from across different communities marched to demonstrate unity for a comprehensive HIV prevention in the US, not to be divided by community or issue.
In order to draw conference attendees from the hotel to the opening rally two blocks away at Hardy Ivy Park, a group of carolers sang an HIV prevention song to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”
“In the AIDS epidemic, the gov’ment gave to me–NO NATIONAL PLAN, anti-gay bias, a decade of flat funding, a fast track to prison, no decent housing, roadblocks to treatment, silver virginity rings, censorship of science, discrimination, misinformation and a country full of H.I.V.”
Other PJM folks were in the lobby, decorating marchers with the PJM sash—a white satin cloth with the red PJM Unity logo.
The spirited marchers burst from the Hyatt onto Peachtree Street, blowing whistles and chanting, and made their way to Hardy Ivy Park to meet the crowd already assembled. The march MC Waheedah Shabbazz-el took the bullhorn and hyped the crowd to a frenzy, reminding the crowd, “HIV is more than a disease, It’s positive proof of injustice!” The marchers grabbed signs and fliashlights from organizaers and marshals, and the rally was in full swing. READ MORE!!
World AIDS Day is usually marked by solemn events marking another year into the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We count how many deaths, and how many people living wit HIV, and sometimes we remember famous people who have died from the disease.
And there is where it usually ends.
But this year, YOU can do something different! I AM!
I am heading off to Atlanta on Friday to begin to work spend the next few days writing, blogging, pr-ing and capturing the Prevention Justice Mobilization. The PJM is working with several other organizations to across the nation to re-ignite a social justice movement around the HIV epidemic in the US, because “HIV is NOT just a disease. It’s proof positive of injustice!” We will be hosting a series of activities beginning World AIDS Day in Atlanta, and running in conjunction with the CDC and NIH’s National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta December 2-5th.
The truth is that we STILL have an HIV epidemic in this country, and it does not appear to be getting better. Many of us have lulled ourselves into thinking about HIV as solely an issue of individual risk–and have abandoned any kind of radical analysis on the left. The Left, by and large, simply does not deal with HIV as a social justice issue at all.
But hopefully we, with your help, can change that. We can both remember and honor people who have died from HIV but also continue to think through, and include in our analysis in a real way (not just add to the lefty laundry list) the way in which risk of HIV infection is a symptom of socio–economic status in a racist/misogynist/homo and transphobic society.
Here are some tools to help speak to this issue, and I hope you’ll pass this along to your friends and comrades, and your lists.
So I hope you listen to this radio show that speaks very much to the issue.
- The internationally broadcast radio show Making Contact just began airing a show about Black and Latina women and HIV called The Color of AIDS: Bringing Risk Up to Date. You can listen to it on the site. They write: In the United States, HIV/AIDS is no longer just a disease affecting white, gay men. The percentage of cases of women living with HIV has tripled in the past 20 years, and women of color are most affected. Yet outdated perceptions about the epidemic drive government prevention work, from the way data is collected to who gets tested. On this edition, those on the frontlines of the grassroots HIV/AIDS movement bring the discussion about HIV risk up to date. They say generating more relevant prevention models is literally a matter of life and death, especially for women of color.”
- Keep up with the latest in Prevention Justice on the site and blog, www.preventionjustice.org.
You can also endorse the mobilization there, if you haven’t already.