Today is World AIDS Day. This December 1 one is significant not only because we take time to focus attention on the people who lost their battle with HIV/AIDS and the persons living with it, it’s been 30 years since it exploded into our national consciousness here in the US with reports of a mysterious ailment called GRID that popped up in three clusters in San Francisco, New York and Houston.
In the Obama Administration there is an Office of National AIDS Policy headed by Jeffrey Crowley
In addition to it being a fast growing problem in the African American community, it’s also an issue in the POC trans community as well. One of the projects I was involved with in Louisville was an organization that was tasked with helping to fight the spread of the disease in the trans population.
It has long been an irritant to the trans community that when HIV/AIDS stats are compiled transpeople are lumped into the MSM (men having sex with men) category. It’s problematic in the fact that it hinders our ability to collect accurate statistics in terms of just how many transpeople are infected and erases a transwoman’s identity at the same time.
I expressed these same points in this post when Jeffery Crowley briefed us during the recent Out on the Hill Conference I attended. I along with every transperson in the room got tired of hearing him refer to ‘gay and lesbian’ in every other sentence. When it was time to ask Crowley questions, I asked him when would statistics be collected to more accurately reflect the fact that transpeople are being infected at alarming rates with HIV/AIDS instead of just lumping them in the MSM category? I also asked if there had been senior policy level discussions to implement that change.
His answer didn’t satisfy me or many of the people in that room and triggered a discussion led by Louis Mitchell, Kylar Broadus, and Valerie Spencer and our GLB allies who do HIV/AIDS prevention work. They pointed out the problems with lumping transpeople in the MSM category.
But back to World AIDS Day. Do what you need to do to stay negative. Get tested, and if you are getting busy, safe sex please.