In the midst of the AIDS 2012 conference I found myself thinking about next steps and where should I be going in this life? I took a break from my advocacy work and volunteering because I got really tired of seeing the same "power faces" in the meetings I attended and it seems as though nothing was happening for the people living with HIV/AIDS here in the District. Seems as though the more I get angry and fight and advocate the numbers are still rising and the stigma is thicker than it was before I was diagnosed in 2008.
Why do I live in a city that's hell bent on being ignorant and complacent and most importantly numb to the statistics surrounding HIV/AIDS here in the District of Columbia. African Americans account for most of the 2.7% of people living with HIV in the District and yet we are the most silent when it comes to combating the spread of this disease. I also just sit in awe of how the African American faith based community in DC has yet to publicly stand up and fight along side everyone else again the stigma and spread of HIV in DC which can easily be prevented through acceptance that decreases stigma. The international AIDS Conference is in town this week and I have yet to hear any progressive church speak about ministry, outreach and advocacy.
This isn't a long drawn out blog this morning but just something to think about as we close out the 2012 AIDS Conference here in DC. It's just so ironic that our report came out for DC with staggering stats but now, you see no one really involved or even care about attending the AIDS conference, some dont want to be involved because they feel as though it doesn't apply to them because they are not black, gay, bi, drug users, etc. This disease knows no color, gender or sexuality and it hits us all the same. We need to get out the mindset that handing out a condom to some people will combat this disease but if you are handing out a condom, educate on how to use and get to know the social norms for condom use. If you are educating on testing, get into dialogue on why you should get tested and what to do after a test result.
I want everyone to be on board with HIV in some capacity. Although you may not know someone directly that is living with the virus, there is someone close to you that you may not know about so always be educated for yourself as well as others.