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Community & Behavioral Health | Recovery | Social Change


Changing the Conversation

World AIDS Day: Keep Fighting!

World AIDS Day--recognized every year on December 1 since 1988--is an occasion to reflect on the global impact of HIV and AIDS and health care inequities across world populations. On this day, HIV/AIDS organizations around the world affirm their commitment to eliminate stigma and expand testing and treatment to people living where rates of HIV and AIDS remain high.

The U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator--Ambassador Deborah Birx, M.D.--asserts, “We will only end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 if no one is left behind. It is unacceptable that key populations still face stigma, discrimination, and violence, which impede their ability to access quality HIV services.

This year, the U.S. is working to control an epidemic in Scott County, Indiana that has a higher incidence of HIV than any country in sub-Saharan Africa. Austin--the county seat with a population of 4,200--has more cases of HIV than all of New York City. In this small, rural county, the forces of poverty, addiction, and politics drove an injection drug problem to cause the first-known HIV outbreak related to the current opioid crisis in America.

Preventing HIV: Being More Comfortable Talking about Sex

“You’re going to need to do some homework,” she said.

It was my first week of working at Youth on Fire (YOF), a drop in center and HIV prevention program for 14-24 year olds experiencing homelessness and housing instability.

“Okay,” I replied, expecting to be given some books or articles to read.

“I want you to go home, stand in front of a mirror, and say the words ‘blow job’ and ‘anal sex’ thirty times per day for the next week.”

Remembering on World AIDS Day

If something is to stay in the memory, it must be burned in: only that which never ceases to hurt stays in the memory. —Friederich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals

Loneliness is violence in slow motion. —Robert Glück, Jack the Modernist


A few months ago I met an ex of mine at his apartment. As dinner led to kissing because sometimes dinner does that, he put a hand on my shoulder and said, I want you to know I’ve tested positive. I said, Ok, because I wasn’t sure what else to say. Later he texted me about how he had felt shame and fear, and I asked if I had ever made him feel that way. He said, No, but then he didn’t text me again which of course meant Yes.