This week we commemorate World AIDS Day. But what does it mean for the LGBT community today?
WAD provides an opportunity for fundraising by HIV groups, especially for services that aren’t funded by government, which often support people with HIV in financial difficulty. Managing the costs of day-to-day living and the additional health care for people with HIV can be a burden, especially for the working poor.
It is also a time for awareness and education, particularly within the general community, as well as the LGBT community. Most people don’t think about HIV on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, so WAD provides a focus for broader awareness, including reducing discrimination against people living with HIV. As Australians we can also reflect on the devastating impact of HIV in other parts of the world and celebrate the quality and availability of services here at home.
We can also take time to remember, commemorate and/or grieve those we have lost to HIV and the impact it has had, especially on the gay community. Younger generations of gay men do not have the lived experience of what it was like in the ‘80s and early ‘90s; the unknown, the fear, the loss of whole friendship circles, but also the power of people working together and caring for each other.
Remembering and knowing about the dark times from our past can help us prevent them occurring again in the future.