The United States of America
The USA had a population of 323,300,000 in 2016 amid 1,200,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in 2013. 6/7 were aware of being infected, and in 2011 only 37% were getting Antiretroviral therapy (ART).
About 67% of infections are among men who have sex with men (MSM), with higher rates among African Americans and Hispanics. The rate of infection in people who inject drugs (PWID) appears to be rising, linked to an epidemic of opioid misuse. At the same time, condom use is falling, especially among young people.
The USA has both national policies and the policies of individual states, which sometimes conflict. The national policy is failing to meet about half its goals. People living with HIV (PLHIV) in large areas of the country may have difficulty finding appropriate health care; whereas in another area they would have easy access to it. Being poor, or nonwhite, or living in some places, are particularly vulnerable circumstances.
The President (Trump) has proposed heavy cuts in spending on HIV.
(Figures from AVERT, 2016)
SAN FRANCISCO, today and yesterday
San Francisco is a dream city, with success almost literally just around the corner (Silicon Valley) and plenty of tourist highlights like the Golden Gate bridge. We land at San Francisco Airport in mid-January, with 20-degree temperature (68F) and lots of sun. And right away we can see how it used to be…. For us this journey is a trip back in time: in 1994 Bert and Erwin, HIV infected themselves visited the Castro, the gay district, where in the early 1980s again and again young men were being struck down by an unknown disease. But it was right in the Castro where the first HIV and AIDS activists fought for respect and better medical care – not only for themselves, but for the coming generation.
A LUNCH TO REMEMBER
At several locations and in different settings, men come together who’ve lived for decades with the virus — to meet, to share a meal, to reminisce, to heal, to laugh and to cry.
But the main reason for these gatherings is to be together, to share experiences and lives.
That afternoon we met some wonderful men who had a lot to tell about love, about life, and yes, also about loss.
Their openness, fearlessness and wisdom made it a very special afternoon. It will stay with us for many years to come.
Thank you, guys, for letting us be there.