Ending AIDS, racism: world falling short

Rosa refuses to stand; AIDS continues

cdc-hiv-race
https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/racialethnic/africanamericans/index.html New HIV Diagnoses in the US and Dependent Areas, 2018

Back in July 2020, I came across this article. “Ending AIDS: World Will Fall Short of 2020 Targets.” It noted that the “COVID-19 pandemic [is] on track to blow HIV progress off course, experts say

“The 2020 targets set by UNAIDS to control global HIV infection will not be met with ‘COVID-19 risks blowing HIV progress way off course,’ officials reported.

“According to the 2020 Global AIDS Update, 1.7 million people worldwide were newly infected in 2019 with HIV.” The target for this year was 500,000 “for 2020, according to the report at the International AIDS Conference virtual meeting.”

But on this World AIDS Day, don’t blame it all on the pandemic. “Our progress towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 was already off track before the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Three score and five

Meanwhile, it’s been 65 years since Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat in Montgomery, AL. The problems with the perception of the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and ’60s are several. For one, it seems to have been oversimplified. Rosa sat, Martin spoke and justice was won.

The push for equality started much earlier and remains necessary to this day. Why it took George Floyd’s death for a bunch of people to figure that out I’m sure some sociologists are analyzing.

Surely, we know about the perils of jogging while black or sleeping while black.

But it’s the everyday things that I find troubling. This story of a racist Pennsylvania judge resigning right before his own misconduct trial was set to begin happened to be in my feed. There are far too many examples to note.

About three and a half years ago, there was this blog post by a local author called “Why so many blacks in ads?” Knowing vaguely the guy who wrote it – he’s thrilled that IMPOTUS is going – I think the query was naive but not malicious. But the responses were, for the most part, virulent. Over 300 comments, 10% in 2020. There is a lot of use of the N-word.

Interestingly, the complaints aren’t all from the US. “My father fought in wwll for white British people this is our country and feel we are getting pushed out by black people ..their are to many black people in adverts.” It’s so comforting that racism and bad grammar are international.

The point is…

We ain’t there yet. We still need to work to eradicate these scourges. And, as you can see in the graphic from 2018, there is a relationship between race (systemic racism?) and HIV. AIDS is defeatable. And racism… well, I’m not so sure, but we need to keep on trying.

2019: significant anniversary for HIV/AIDS

The virus is still very much around.

what is HIVBecause some folks seem to believe that HIV/AIDS is cured, some statistics:

In 2018 (the latest data available)…
37.9 million [32.7 million–44.0 million] people globally were living with HIV.
23.3 million [20.5 million–24.3 million] people were accessing antiretroviral therapy.
1.7 million [1.4 million–2.3 million] people became newly infected with HIV.
770 000 [570 000–1.1 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

In the United States, “approximately 1.1 million people… are living with HIV today. About 15 percent of them (1 in 7) are unaware they are infected. An estimated 38,700 Americans became newly infected with HIV in 2016.”

An article in US News notes that 2019 is a significant anniversary. “HIV and AIDS have been part of the world’s consciousness for 40 years now. In 1979 and 1980, doctors in Los Angeles and New York were suddenly reporting rare types of pneumonia, cancer, and other illnesses…

“Today, AIDS is fairly well controlled – in developed countries anyway. But the virus, which actually has been infecting humans since at least 1959, and perhaps since the late 1940s, according to the AIDS Institute, is still very much around.”

Why do nearly 1000 girls and young women contract HIV every day?

PrEP

A couple years back, there was a presentation at my church about Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP). It is “a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting HIV to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day.

“The pill (brand name Truvada)” – which is advertised on American television – “contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine). [They are] used in combination with other medicines to treat the disease. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.”

Here’s what the US budget in fighting HIV/AIDS has looked like in the past decade or so.

I was happy to get to “know” Ruth, an HIV survivor, who is nursing others in Sierra Leone with the disease.

From April 2018 in the NYT magazine: Those we lost to the AIDS epidemic. Someone posted on Facebook recently six actors we lost prematurely. I DO remember two of the performers, Merritt Butrick and Tom Villard.

And Pedro Zamora died 25 years ago, hours after Real World San Francisco ended. Yes, I did watch that season.

The Library of Congress will house the archives of the famous AIDS quilt

Music throwback: Red Hot + Blue

There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016.

From the Wikipedia: “Red Hot + Blue is the first in the series of compilation albums from the Red Hot Organization… It features contemporary pop performers reinterpreting several songs of Cole Porter, and the title of the album comes from Cole Porter’s musical Red, Hot and Blue.

“Released in 1990, it sold over a million copies worldwide and was heralded as one of the first major AIDS benefits in the music business. The accompanying ABC television special [which I watched at the time] featured music videos for the songs. The clips portrayed the societal effects of AIDS.”

Yes, a good cause, to be sure. But also great music. It made my list of the top 25 albums previous 25 years back in 2010.

Lest you think the AIDS crisis is over: According to UNAIDS:

“There were approximately 36.7 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016. Of these, 2.1 million were children (under 16 years old).

“An estimated 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2016 – about 5,000 new infections per day. This includes 160,000 children (under 16 years).”

Here are some US stats.

There were several followup albums to Red Hot + Blue. These are just the ones I own:

Red Hot + Dance (1992)- features three new songs by George Michael

No Alternative (1993) – alternative rock
Sexual Healing – Soul Asylum

Red Hot + Country (1994) – music from the classic country and rock genres performed by seasoned old and new country music artists, often together
Teach Your Children – Suzy Bogguss, Kathy Mattea, and Crosby, Stills and Nash
The T.B. is Whipping Me= Wilco and Syd Straw

Red Hot + Rio (1996) – a contemporary tribute to the Bossa nova sound, especially the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim
Use Your Head – Money Mark

Red Hot + Rhapsody (1998) – celebrating George Gershwin
Summertime – Bobby Womack and The Roots
A Foggy Day In London Town – David Bowie and Angelo Badalamenti

By George (& Ira): Red Hot on Gershwin (1998) – compilation of previous cuts

Red Hot + Riot: The Music and Spirit of Fela Kuti (2002)
By Your Side – Sade

16 songs (plus two ringers) of the 20 songs from Red Hot + Blue HERE.

HIV treatment options

“From 2002 to 2012, expanded access to HIV treatment averted 4.2 million deaths globally and contributed to a 58% reduction in new HIV infections.”

hiv-treatments-2Back in January 2016, I helped organize a workshop at my church, “Ending the Epidemic in NYS: HIV/AIDS Treatment in 2015: What Congregations Need to Know!”

It was designed to, among other things, increase awareness of the Blueprint to Ending the Epidemic in NYS by 2020; and learn how HIV treatment, such as PEP and PrEP, have impacted HIV prevention and treatment efforts.
Continue reading “HIV treatment options”

Cemetery angel

RuthCokerBurksThe First Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY is celebrating 20 years of being a More Light community, which means “seeking the full participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry, and witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)”

For the service on June 5, our guest preacher, and leader in the adult education class, was Tony De La Rosa, the interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency for the denomination.

Tony admitted that he struggled with the recommended readings, or liturgy, for the date. Both 1 Kings 17:17-24 and Luke 7:11-17 involved women seeming to lose their children, only to have Elijah and Jesus, respectively, bring their sons back to life. How would this fit in with a More Light message?
Continue reading “Cemetery angel”