Today is the 33rd anniversary of the first World AIDS Day. A reconstruction of it’s genetic history shows that the HIV pandemic almost certainly originated in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, around 1920. AIDS was first recognized in 1981 and by 2009 had caused nearly 30 million deaths. As of 2016, approximately 36.7 million people are living with HIV globally. In 2016, approximately half are men and half are women. There were about 1.0 million deaths from AIDS in 2016, down from 1.9 million in 2005. Prevention and treatment is working.
It is not a gay disease, it is not an African disease, it is not a junkie disease, it is not a disease that is given to people who behave badly or have unacceptable lifestyles, and it is not God’s punishment. It does not discriminate, it just kills. Some of the most influential people in my life are HIV positive, or I should say most of the most influential people in my life are HIV positive.
I am who I am today because of the amazingly talented, fiercely devoted, and ridiculously hilarious guys that have influenced me to boundlessly creative, to love unapologetically, and to be true to what is important to me. Every birthday candle I blow out, every coin I throw into a fountain, every time I am required to make a wish, I wish for their health and a cure to be found.