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BIG PHOTOSETS FOREVER FOR THEY ARE MUCH HARDER TO IGNORE / a lot of these don’t have hi-res versions available, but i still want to post them

This was not an exaggeration. The government ignored the issue of HIV/AIDS for years before anything was done. Gay and Queer communities had to form their own clinics because no government agencies cared for them. Back then, being diagnosed was equivalent to a death sentence or extreme debt and poor quality of life/a significantly shortened lifespan.

Things got so desperate that people literally had “Die-Ins”— in contemporary usage this refers to masses of people simulating death in order to protest something (like the War in Iraq). In this case, however, fatally sick people would literally lie down in public places and protest with what little energy they had left until they died. There is some footage of a church Die-In in the documentary Beyond Stonewall.  The middle image here of that person’s jacket is not an extreme political statement; it’s what people had to do because they had no other options.


never forget

queer politics aren’t all hrc t-shirts and shiny lobbying. So many people have already forgotten this extremely recent history.

And this is still not over. HIV rates in the US are going up among young, gay men of color — almost half are expected to be infected within their lifetime at this point — and there isn’t even solid data on HIV in the trans community, but it’s off the scales, percentage-wise. 

I can not say this enough: HIV is an intersectional issue. It became a pandemic because it hit at the intersection of homophobia and racism, because it affects the poorest, most vulnerable people. It plays into our culture’s fucked up issues around sex and drugs.

And the kicker is, while there’s no cure, there are incredibly effective HIV medications. People living with HIV who have access to good healthcare and medications have the same expected lifespan as people who aren’t infected. And with proper care and treatment, the amount of virus in a person’s bloods and semen drops to nearly none and because of that, people become significantly less likely to infect others, even if they have unprotected sex.

This is why health care reform matters. This is why sex education and access to reproductive health services matter. Without them, people die.

(General note, I work in HIV education and am always happy to answer HIV-related questions people might have if I’m able. My ask box is always open and anon is on like 95% of the time.)
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