Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1: World AIDS Day

Never forget.

Remembering the year the AIDS Quilt first came to Boston, running into a colleague there and holding him in my arms as he wept.

Honoring my friends who work in the field: Brian. Lisa. Doxy. Will, who worked in South Africa where, he told us, they are burying people two deep in the cemeteries because there is not enough room. Musa, the biblical scholar from Botswana, who works with women especially, but who also educates church leaders of all genders and examines with them how our scriptural interpretations kill or give life. The women of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians. Guy and the people at his center for spiritual care in Atlanta, Georgia, many of whom have been homeless. Margaret, who with Guy and like Musa, teaches Pentecostal seminarians and pastors in the Atlanta neighborhood that is ground zero for HIV infection and where the rates of infection are as high as in South Africa.

And the hospice nurses who were my colleagues twenty years ago when we were raising money for the first residential hospice for people with AIDS in Boston, because there were people, mostly gay men, who had no place to go and die with dignity and with the loving care all human beings deserve. Jeannette, now resting with the saints, who after years as a prison chaplain began working with people infected and affected and who opened a home for formerly incarcerated women and formerly homeless women living with HIV infection. Mary, who volunteered without fanfare for years, taking time from a busy job to go and hold infected babies in a Washington hospital. Edward, who is in his second executive directorship of an AIDS-related organization, the first a consortium serving the needs of people of color in a large city in the Northeast, the current one a group advocating for better distribution of life-saving drugs. Joe, who continues to ride his bike each year in the annual fund-raiser for research and care.

Doxy's thoughts are here, Fran's are here, with some words from South Africa.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation's prevention program is here.

The Frontline PBS series of a couple of years ago, "The Age of AIDS," which you can watch in its entirety in the privacy of your home, but which is also great for group discussion, is here. The movie series is a great place to start if you don't know where to start, and the website is full of good scientific and social information. Its perspective is international --great segment on Uganda-- and it also tracks the social history of the epidemic and related politics here in the U.S.

And here's a quiz for you to take, from the movie's website.

UNAIDS's photo gallery is here.

Learn about the feminization of AIDS here.

From that last one:
HIV infections among women and girls have risen in every part of the world in recent years. The numbers point to a fundamental and startling reality - the HIV/AIDS pandemic is inextricably linked to the brutal effects of sexism and gender inequality, most pronounced in Africa. ... Gender violence and poverty are disease risks.


Doorman-Priest said...

Abstinence only doesn't work. When will people learn?

FranIAm said...

DP how right are you are.

Thanks for this post Jane, lovely, poignant.