The Conversation About HIV is Changing.
National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day | September 27
When the AIDS epidemic began, HIV positive people were at risk of losing their jobs, apartments, medical care, and legal rights.Gay and bisexual men were disproportionately impacted, and had to mobilize quickly to support friends and neighbors who stood to lose everything. The conversation centered on how to survive when the odds were stacked against you, and about why there is so little out there in the way of help.
Today, gay and bisexual men are still disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS, but the conversation around HIV is changing. Thanks to people who were willing to take a stand and raise awareness, an HIV positive person today has some degree of legal protection on the state and federal level. With advances in medical research, we better understand HIV prevention,transmission and treatment. Now the conversation is about helping people know what is available to prevent and treat HIV, and helping people choose what is right for them.
When we talk about HIV and AIDS today, we are talking about PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), rapid testing, and knowing your status. If you are HIV positive, the conversation is about learning how you can live a long,healthy life without spreading HIV.
AIDS Care Ocean State is an important part of this conversation.Since our agency was founded at the beginning of the HIV crisis, we have been connecting gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual people - anyone needing treatment! with treatment.
- · We provide free, rapid, confidential testing at our Broad Med facility as well as throughout the state as part of our extensive street outreach.
- · We run the only needle exchange program in Rhode Island, providing clean needles to intravenous drug users, addressing a significant vector for HIV infection.
- · We provide referrals for PrEP treatment to help keep people from becoming HIV positive.
- · We address the connection between poverty and HIV/AIDS, providing housing and food security for HIV positive people
Just as in the beginning, we are always in need of funds to keep this important conversation going. Please visit http://www.aidscareos.org/GetInvolved/Donate.aspxto donate.