Posts tagged hiv

Peace Corps’ Buck Buckingham: AIDS at 30


Warren W. Buckingham III is the director of our Office of AIDS Relief. Diagnosed with HIV 26 years ago, he has spent his career playing a critical role in fighting AIDS domestically and globally, working for PEPFAR and speaking publicly about living with the disease. Learn more about him and the state of AIDS in Africa in this interview from the Science Speaks series on 30 years of AIDS.

AIDS at 30: A Time Capsule


It is difficult now to call up the particular mood that prevailed in the AIDS epidemic’s early years. I am not talking about the first rumblings, when no one knew enough to be afraid, but further in. In those post-AZT, pre-ARV-drug days, there was very little one could do if infected. Primitive prophylaxes against certain diseases offered one’s best bet but certainly no guarantee that one wouldn’t die of Kaposi’s sarcoma or cytomegalovirus or pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. The idea of life without AIDS, much less of being alive in thirty years, was almost unimaginable. Which is why in the late eighties, coworkers and I at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation came up with an idea to get people—gay men, in particular—thinking about the future. We decided to create a time capsule.

(Via Longreads)

Not Queer, But Human

Instead, we need to recognize the specific challenges the LGBT population faces, while couching those challenges in a broader, empathic narrative about the universal desire for health. As an example, our designs could tell the stories of young LGBT people who are living with HIV — living on their own terms and not dying on somebody else’s. Instead of emphasizing the link between silence and death, we should draw a connection between openness and life. Being tested for HIV and asking about HIV status before sex should be regarded as an essential part of this openness.

In addition, we need to provide a basis from which non-LGBT people can relate to these stories by making the case that every person living with HIV/AIDS — gay or not — is somebody’s son or daughter and deserves an equal measure of respect and dignity. Broadly speaking, we need to portray LGBT people as part of the collective human tapestry rather than external to it. We need to put a stop to the “us against them” mentality that has typified the thinking behind the previous generation’s design solutions: instead of trying to reclaim words like “queer” in attempts at resistance, we need to get mainstream society to see LGBT people as “human.” Instead of staging kiss-ins intended to elicit feelings of disgust among the heteronormative mainstream, we should strive to create a condition where two men kissing in public is just as acceptable as a man and woman kissing. Social dissent is not more powerful simply because it aims to antagonize.