September 9, 2017

We’re Fighting for So Much Right Now — Don’t Forget About HIV

This article originally appeared on AIDS United.

The first Pride march was organized one year after the Stonewall riots to broaden the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer struggle and push for our fundamental rights. In the 48 years following, we’ve made so much progress — from the right to marry to the right to serve openly in the military. We have so much to celebrate. However, despite our progress and the continuing barriers we face to achieve full freedom, justice, equality and equity, we cannot deny that in some ways our movement is forgetting about HIV.

In 1981, when the first 270 cases of what we now call HIV and AIDS were reported among gay men, researchers coined the term “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency,” or GRID, which had the effect of downplaying or minimizing the risk to many other people. The media even used the term “gay cancer” to describe the disease. This stigmatizing language reinforced the idea that HIV only affected gay and bisexual men — a myth perpetuated to this day.

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