AIDS: Lest We Forget
The threat of HIV to those with hemophilia was made vividly clear in September 1987. On August 21, 1987, two weeks before my son with hemophilia was born, the Ray brothers had been fire-bombed from their trailer park home in Arcadia, Florida–a warning to the family to leave. It made headlines nationwide and was considered a landmark act in the history of HIV in the US. The story was of shocking interest to everyone, even those of us who didn’t know hemophilia was about to enter our lives.
World AIDS Day remembers those who died, and a ceremony was held at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco. Both HFA and NHF were honored to have been invited to participate.
World AIDS Day also serves to remind us that the work is not yet done. I was reading Time magazine on a plane ride yesterday, and was shocked at the statistics I read.
- In 2015, 39,513 people were diagnosed with HIV infection in the United States.
- More than 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV, and 1 in 8 of them don’t know it.
- Gay and bisexual men accounted for 82% (26,375) of HIV diagnoses among males and 67% of all diagnoses.
- Black/African American gay and bisexual men accounted for the largest number of HIV diagnoses (10,315), followed by white gay and bisexual men (7,570).
- Heterosexual contact accounted for 24% (9,339) of HIV diagnoses
- Six percent (2,392) of HIV diagnoses in the United States were attributed to injection drug use (IDU).
- Louisiana has the second highest new-infection rate: due to poverty, large incarcerated population, stigma, abstinence-only sex ed (CDC data, Time magazine, Nov 28-Dec 5, 2016)
- Miami: cuts in health spending contributed to a 23% rise in those with HIV since 2004, the fastest-growing rate of infection in US. (CDC data, Time magazine, Nov 28-Dec 5, 2016)
Note: The spread of HIV in the US was originally blamed on a gay French Canadian flight attendant, Gaetan Dugas, but new analysis of stored blood samples have exonerated him of this. And the Band Played On opens with Dugas’s story and alleged link as Patient Zero.