This year marks the 25th year that the world has been dealing with HIV. To mark the occassion, the CDC is revising its recommendations to encourage every person between the ages of 13 and 64 to get tested by their doctor, so as to prevent a still staggering 25% of new infections being caused by people who did not know they were positive. I imagine we will hear the usual doomsday shrieking from the AIDS service providers, who seem to think the government is constantly busy cataloguing and tagging people for extermination somewhere. But this sounds like a reasonable request to me. If you've got it, you are far better off knowing you have it, and if you don't then there's nothing to worry about.
Joe My God has a typically touching piece to mark the occassion, and directs us to a HuffPo post about the recognized date of the anniversary, and why it seems wrong. PBS did a stunning and exhaustive Frontline documentary on the virus; it is a must-see. It has been seven years since my own body was invaded by this historic little virus. Seven long, strange, but ultimately wonderful years, spent blissfully meds-free up to this point. I've learned a lot, laughed a lot, cried a little, blah, blah, blah. The interesting thing, to me, is how deeply this amazing city has been impacted by the virus and emerged stronger for it. I've been getting to know segments of the positive population here ever since I seroconverted, and have encountered so many positive New Yorkers, each responding to the virus in unique and often inspiring ways. The fight is not over, etc, etc. But I've always found comfort in the fact that I could not have chosen a better city to support me when I need it, catch me when I'm falling, yet continue to constantly treat me just like every other asshole. Nothing could comfort me more.
ADDENDUM: The mark of a great writer, for me at least, is that they seem to tease out the very things that run through my own head in less poetic terms. Andrew Sullivan, despite the almost universal distaste that many of my blog brethren have for him, will always remain a favorite of mine for continually being able to do just that. In fact, I believe I have said the last line of the following almost verbatim on many occassions:
"I knew I would one day want to block it out, that one day, I would forget most of it, especially the terror of it, and so I made myself write it out at the time. Now I find myself with little new to say, or, rather, nothing to say, except the obvious. I survived. Others I loved didn't. There was no fairness in this. None. Countless more are dying - and surviving - with the same senseless randomness. In this sense, AIDS and HIV are just more intense experiences of life itself. Except death, once encountered, becomes always more real; and life never again resumes the ease and oblivion it once contained. HIV is a crash-course in being human."