01. December is World Aids Day, like every year since 1988. Most of my life I had to live with with the fear of the virus and the horror of seeing countless friends, acquaintances and colleagues dying. I was lucky that I still have a negative status today, it could have turned out differently.
When I was young, AIDS had a crueler face, today there are medications and an infection with the HI-virus can be treated or suppressed and usually no longer means death.
But what has remained until today are stigmata and ignorance about HIV/AIDS and much of this is repeated today with other diseases such as the MPX virus (monkey pox).
AIDS as well as MPX are not queer diseases but our LGBTQIA+ community was hit hardest.
Unfortunately, there are still or again many new infections, since younger people often lack knowledge about STDs and they did not have to get to know AIDS as cruelly as other generations.
Last but not least, there is often a lack of education, protective measures and medication, especially in poorer countries.
December 1st is a good opportunity to gather information. Others also remember the people they lost.
People of my generation and the generation before are often traumatized. We should never forget, that many older queer people often lost countless friends. So instead of wondering why there are so often lonely older, sad and sometimes bitter queer people sitting at the bar, talk to them, ask about their life story and give them love and respect. They often have gone through a lot.
Learning and knowing about HIV/AIDS is not only (self)healthcare, it is also solidarity and community. But it is also queer history, heritage and legacy. Much of the infrastructure of the LGBTQIA+ community developed as a result of the AIDS crisis, even queer art and culture, which is mainstream today, arose from the suffering of the crisis and the need to stand together.
Let’s remember those we have lost and teach those who can survive.
And let’s work on strengthening our community again… we might need it in the future.