It's World AIDS Day. Again. And I find myself in the soup of emotions that comes with this day every year. Grateful. Relieved. Sad. Inspired. Frustrated. Proud. Resolved. And too many other things to list here. Grateful to be alive. Grateful for the extraordinary work, advocacy, research, solidarity, friendships and, well, just the ongoing commitment to keep going. Grateful for the awkward acknowledgements of this day from those who care enough to try by wishing me a "Happy World AIDS Day".
In the early years, the mere thought that we were celebrating this day and the devastation of AIDS globally enraged me. This is our day of observance. Our day to remember, to grieve, and to recommit to this fight. But with time and perhaps with age, I have softened some and recognize that in order to recommit every year, we must also celebrate our lives, our worth, our strength, and even our victories – large and small. In this recognition, we have power. And our collective power – our collective humanity – is what keeps this movement going.
This year the theme for World AIDS Day is "End Inequalities. End AIDS". Hallelujah. Fighting AIDS IS fighting inequalities. In order to fight AIDS, we must fight racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, gender-based violence, and so much more. Fortunately, we can do this. We are doing this. We have a track record and a road map. We know how far we have come and how far we have to go. And most importantly, we have each other. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and we are part of a global community committed to ending AIDS. And this is something I can truly celebrate.