The fight to end the severe impacts of HIV and AIDS on women, their families, and their communities, is in WORLD’s DNA. We are constantly thinking of new ways to effectively work with others who are as involved in this work as we are, and we consider how to bring in those who may not think about HIV in their everyday lives. And every December 1st, we honor World AIDS Day, observed internationally and meant to raise awareness and serve as a uniting call to action in the fight against HIV.
This World AIDS Day, WORLD continues to celebrate and honor those who live and have lived with the virus, and those who are committed to managing its effects and preventing its spread. We are immensely excited by new strides made in biomedical HIV prevention, helping us in the goal of #GettingToZero. These include PrEP, PEP, treatment as prevention (TasP), and U=U. We continue to be impressed by new advancements in treatment and care and are thankful to our medical partners.
While we celebrate those who continue to strive for the life-saving medical interventions that have helped millions, we also stand with those who seek solutions to the devastating social causes of HIV and AIDS; primarily, racism, misogyny, and their attendant effects, such as homelessness and survival sex work. We believe that housing is a human right, we are committed to finding housing solutions for our clients, and we are thankful for the work of those in the Bay Area and California who are fighting to ensure that affordable, good housing is available for all, not only for the wealthy. We are grateful to our Peer Advocates, who help women navigate the housing crisis, along with the many other arenas made more difficult by stigma, such as food insecurity and adherence to medication. We are proud of our efforts to help women living with HIV manage their pain safely. We are sustained by our community partners who provide services and care, and we honor them in everything we do.
Most importantly, we honor our clients, a diverse group of incredible people who bring us endless joy, knowledge, humor, and opportunities to learn and grow. Living in this world as a woman with HIV and striving to take care of yourself is not only an accomplishment, but also an act of service to our community. Attending support groups, checking in with your peer, doing outreach, and otherwise advocating for yourself, your rights, and those of your sisters, are all true acts of “self care” and they make an incredible impact. When you share your story, your time, and your spirit with the world, you do so much to make life better, not only for others living with HIV, but for everyone who can benefit from knowing a little more about women, their families, and their communities affected by HIV. If you are a woman living with HIV who is struggling with doubts, fear and insecurities brought on by the stress of stigma, know that you are not alone. If you are active and out in the community (as so many of our amazing Leaders and Buddies are), thank you for being a loud voice letting others know that they are not alone!
When you live your truth, you give others the courage to do so as well, you open up peoples’ minds, and you bless the world with your unabashed presence in it. Our staff was honored and humbled at our last client retreat, the theme of which was “Unleashing Your Superpowers.” It was a privilege and delight to get to know our clients better, and an inspirational experience to work alongside you, getting to absorb your profound insights and presence.
Thank you for honoring World AIDS Day with us, and have a wonderful end to 2018; we are so appreciative of your presence in our life, community, and world.
World AIDS Day is a celebration of life and a commitment to making life better for everyone. Please join WORLD for a party at Humanist Hall this Wednesday, December 5th to celebrate and honor the strides made in prevention and treatment, our incredible community, and the spirit of World AIDS Day. This is a free event and there are no requirements for attendance other than respectfulness. RSVP on Eventbrite; we can’t wait to see you.
This post was written by Molly Roberts, WORLD Office Assistant