This World AIDS Day, more than 30 years since the world first heard of HIV and AIDS, my first thought on this issue is how even all these years later, we still stigmatize and marginalize those who are HIV-positive. But this is a two-way road, for it is not only that our society marginalizes HIV-positive individuals, but that the most marginalized people in our communities are most likely to become positive.
Yes, it is important to get tested. Yes, condoms, condoms, condoms. But the truth is that some of us are at higher risk than others merely because of who we are and the communities in which we move. At particular risk for HIV are women of color, transgender folks, young women. In short, HIV is not simply a disease, but rather an indicator of marginalization and injustice in our society.
This World AIDS Day, I’d like to see folks get tested, yes, but I am most grateful for those who are fighting for justice in our communities: for those who are fighting to end economic inequity, for those who are fighting to ensure that everyone has access to health care, for those who are centering the voices of the most marginalized people in our communities. Because in the end, AIDS is a disease of marginalization and injustice, and we will not see an end to AIDS without ending inequity.