Elton John: Marriage Equality: Great, AIDS/HIV status: Not So!

Elton John* reminds us we need to congratulate the victory in 35 states, now with Marriage Equality, but we are losing ground on the AIDS/HIV fight here and abroad

By a combination of stories of happy, productive  LGBT couples and children of same, activists have propelled gay marriage into succes in 35 states in the US. However, gay activists, human rights champions and social justice advocates need to once again address the spiraling AIDS crisis.

A recent Kaiser Foundation poll shows one in eight gay men is H.I.V.-positive, but most gay and bisexual men say they are “not concerned” about H.I.V. One third of the men even knew that H.I.V. infections were increasing in the United States. 30% said they had never been tested. Only a quarter had ever even heard of the use of the drug Truvada to prevent HIV infection. We as group have not kept up on HIV education. AIDS is among the leading causes of death for African-American men. In addition, this happens because of**:

  • Pervasive stigma and discrimination with reluctance for HIV testing, prevention and treatment;
  • Lack of state prevention funding accompanied by the lack of comprehensive and highly visible prevention efforts;
  • Lack of tranportation options;
  • Limited mental health and substance abuse treatment options;
  • Lack of affordable housing.

Finally our African brothers are still suffering***,  70% of all people living with HIV, (24.7 million), live in sub-Saharan Africa—including  91% of the world’s HIV-positive children. 73% of the world’s AIDS deaths in 2013 occured in the same area.

Until we redouble our efforts to end H.I.V., then and only then will we truly have won freedom and equality.

*Source: Elton John on the Unfinished Fight Against AIDS NYT: OCT. 27, 2014
** Source: http://southernaidsstrategy.org/research/