affects everyone regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation.
than 20 million people worldwide have died of HIV/AIDS.
There are 40 million people infected with HIV worldwide.
Every day 14,500 people are newly infected with HIV.
Every day 8,200 people die from AIDS.
Together we can make a difference.
are infected with AIDS in Grand Traverse County
Michigan Department of Community Health,
Bureau of Epidemiology
to Michigan HIV News July 2001 report there are 12
(twelve) people who are currently infected with AIDS living in
Grand Traverse County (no city specific data is available). This
translates to 2 people living with AIDSout of each 13,000
individuals who live in Grand Traverse County (based
on 2000 Grand Traverse Census Pop. 77, 654).
- The fastest
growing segment of new AIDS infections being treated in northwestern
Michigan are heterosexual women.
- More information
about HIV/AIDS in northwestern Michigan is available at the Michigan
Department of Community Health, Bureau of Epidemiology website.
- A comprehensive
166 page Michigan Department of Community Health, Bureau of Epidemiology
report is available MDCH
- A wide variety
of HIV/AIDS information in the greater Grand Traverse area may
be found at: HIV/AIDS
Wellness Networks, Inc.
Times, July 8, 2001
Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA, 90053
Still Hinders AIDS Fight
instilling confidence, the United Nations global conference on AIDS
was an unwelcome reminder that, in the third decade of the pandemic,
much of the world still lives in deep denial about a disease that
has killed 22 million people and continues to ravage sub-Saharan
Africa. When a score of Roman Catholic and Islamic countries objected
to the benign designation of gays and prostitutes as populations
vulnerable to HIV in the summit's draft declaration, the language
was modified. At one point, the U.N.'s General Assembly debated
rancorously whether the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
Commission should even be allowed to participate in an informal
roundtable discussion on human rights and AIDS. In the end, the
advocacy group was allowed to participate, but this pair of disputes
serves as a stark reminder of the role homophobia continues to play
in the spread of AIDS.
people in South and Southeast Asia are infected with the virus,
yet a Pakistani representative recently told the New York Blade,
a gay newspaper, that gay transmission of AIDS is a nonissue in
her homeland: "These kinds of things are not prevalent in Muslim
countries," she said. " ... Pakistan is against this kind
of relationship." That would be an understatement: Pakistan,
according to a recent Amnesty International report, uses flogging
to punish homosexuals. Education about AIDS and gays may stop at
the Pakistani border, but the illness is not so discreet.
Nations' determination to address the global crisis is a good thing,
and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is to be applauded for his
efforts to sweep away the intertwined and seemingly intractable
strains of denial and bigotry that sometimes seem to rival the virulence
of the pandemic itself. "We cannot deal with AIDS by making
moral judgments ... and still less by stigmatizing those who are
infected," he chided delegates from 188 member nations. But
Annan's candor only emphasizes the need for such a reprimand, for
his statement reflects the reality that the U.N. has for too long
placated countries that put their own citizens at risk in the name
recently by Wendy Fitzwilliam, the Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS,
illustrate this attitude. Last year, in discussing the infection
rates in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago--where 1% of the
population has HIV, with boys age 15-19 infected at five times the
rate of girls the same age--Fitzwilliam chastised Caribbean culture
for "encourag[ing] our men to practice loose sexual behavior
and disrespecting our women." When the mode of transmission
is heterosexual sex, the infection rates of women, not men, skyrocket.
Unless Fitzwilliam, a former Miss Universe, has pioneered a new
scientific theory for the transmission of HIV, someone needs to
explain to her that all these boys are not being infected by so
few girls. "Telling the truth about sex is so scary for many
of us," she concedes. No kidding.
lingers that AIDS is--at least primarily--a gay disease in developed
countries. Yet in undeveloped countries, AIDS is discussed almost
exclusively in terms of the threat to heterosexuals, as if the fundamental
rules of biology that govern human sexual behavior are turned away
at the borders of poor nations.
I bought into
the same mentality when I was asked by the United Nations Chronicle
to write a piece to coincide with the summit entitled, "What
the World and Its U.N. Can Do About the HIV/AIDS Crisis." I
was ever so diplomatically discouraged from focusing on the gay
perspective (I think my editor used the phrase, "select group").
I didn't think much of it: What did the U.N. need to do for gays,
who have, since the epidemic's beginnings, established the best
organized, most effective patient advocacy groups in medical history?
To me, gay meant white and American, or at least Westernized. In
my article, I instead discussed the devastation in Africa and the
need for the widespread distribution of inexpensive generic drugs
to combat AIDS.
that the U.N. doesn't want to offend anyone. In fact, I had to soften
my criticism of the Bush administration for not taking a stronger
leadership role in the worldwide struggle to contain the illness.
Now I see that mentioning gays in the context of AIDS would have
been even more inflammatory to some of the delegates. Squeamishness
about homosexuality and lack of AIDS education was exactly what
caused the disease to spread in this country, and it is probably
no coincidence that we began to control AIDS only when the Clinton
administration removed the taboos against speaking out about AIDS
and gay rights. Eric Sawyer, director of the HIV/AIDS Human Rights
Project in New York, has stated that "moral views can get in
the way of common sense." So can diplomacy.
Limsky Teaches at City University of New York. he Has Written for
the Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle and Is the Book
Editor at Metrosource
the 3rd. 2001, we marked the twentieth year of the worldwide HIV
As we approach
this historic milestone, the United Nation's General Assembly is
preparing to meet in special session on June 25 to address the global
HIV crisis. A G-7 Summit of the industrialized nations is scheduled
for early July, also called to focus on the pandemic. Twenty years
after the first reported cases of AIDS, the most complex and critical
issues of the pandemic are finally commanding the attention of the
governments of the wealthy nations, the pharmaceutical industry,
philanthropic organizations and international agencies.
As the third
decade of AIDS begins, with 22 million dead and almost 40 million
people living with HIV/AIDS, we seek to renew the global campaign
against HIV disease and to press for swift, compassionate and comprehensive
action worldwide. We believe that the pharmaceutical industry must
make further concessions on the pricing of HIV treatments.
- We believe
that the United States and other wealthy nations must match the
pharmaceutical industry's concessions with sufficient contributions
to finance infrastructure development and women's economic empowerment
programs, fund prevention education campaigns, provide treatment,
care for orphans and relieve the national debts of the poorest
- We believe
that if the pharmaceutical manufacturers, governments and international
agencies do not move immediately to provide treatment to people
with AIDS in these nations, then poor countries must be permitted
to purchase generic HIV treatments. We believe that the pharmaceutical
manufacturers should abandon their current actions to halt the
purchase and distribution of generic HIV treatments by the governments
of Brazil and other developing nations.
- We believe
that the life-prolonging HIV treatments available to most people
living with AIDS in the United States must be made accessible
to all people with AIDS, but we further believe that the current
treatments are inadequate and that research must be better funded
and better directed in the search for more effective, less toxic
and less expensive treatments.
- We believe
that the United States must do more to assist other nations and
that there is also much work to be done at home. We call on the
President and Congress to recognize and respond to the need for
increased research as well as prevention education, care and treatment,
particularly within the African American, Latino, Asian/Pacific
Islander and Native American communities. We are also deeply concerned
by the increased infection rates among women and youth of all
We believe in, and will continue to fight for, a cure and a vaccine.
- We believe
in, and will continue to fight for, the human rights and dignity
of all people living with AIDS, regardless of nationality, gender,
race, sexual orientation, faith, age or economic status.