By Kit-Bacon Gressitt / Excuse Me, I’m Writing
July is National HIV Awareness Month. Increasing awareness is one of those concepts that has a nice noncontroversial quality, and there are all manner of things happening to that end. There’s the International AIDS Conference coming up July 22-27 in Washington, D.C., the paraders and booths that will populate PRIDE San Diego (July 20-22), even the sociable North County Connection ad in San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, which links to lots of HIV information.
But is awareness enough?
If you’re approaching 45 years or more, you might remember the discovery of AIDS in 1981 and its cause, HIV, shortly thereafter. Remember the controversies? Remember the panic? Remember the prejudice? Remember the deaths?
A lot of us lost loved ones — gay and straight — in the early days of HIV/AIDS awareness.
Then testing and treatment progressed, we learned more about the virus and its transmission — most commonly through anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles with an infected person — and a whole lot of us were more careful. We got tested regularly, we practiced safe sex, we insisted our partners get tested before we bedded them down.
Now a lot of us have loved ones — gay and straight — who are living long lives with HIV treatment, having families even.
So, is awareness enough? [Read more…]