New York, NY, December 1, 2021— World AIDS Day is an opportunity to remember and honor the over 36 million lives around the world that passed due to HIV, including over 700,000 people in the U.S. It is also an opportunity to take a look back on how much we have advanced and the progress we have made. It has been 40 years of lessons, challenges, and hardship. But ending HIV is at our fingertips by creating equitable access and a unified voice to address the disproportionate impact that HIV has had on many communities, including communities of color, gay and bi men, cis gender Latinas, and Transgender and gender non-conforming communities.
In line with this year’s World AIDS Day theme “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice,” we need to ensure optimal health for all people living with HIV, prevention of new HIV cases, address social stigmas, and create equitable access to prevention, treatment, and care for all communities. We must support those who are seeing the largest impact of the HIV epidemic.
“We need to build robust socially driven strategies, strong community-based approaches, and an integrated health care system free of stigma that addresses homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, and institutional racism.”—stated Guillermo Chacon, President of the Latino Commission on AIDS and founder of the Hispanic Health Network. “We need to ensure that prevention and care messages are created in partnership with the communities most impacted by HIV, particularly people living with HIV and delivered in a culturally and linguistically relevant manner.”
Today, the Latino Commission on AIDS also acknowledges the work of our Latinx LGBTQS+ Oasis Wellness Center that will receive the New York Health Commissioner’s Special Recognition Award on World AIDS Day, as well as our own Leandro Rodriguez, Vice President of Programs, who will receive the same recognition for his outstanding service and support to New York State’s efforts in addressing HIV.
Illustration credits: World Health Organization