This evening at 6PM, the World AIDS Institute will hold a special event recognizing the 30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS in the United States. The event will feature a private tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's HIV and AIDS 30 Years Ago exhibit, followed by a reception hosted by three former AIDS officials from the Clinton administration and both Bush administrations. According to the World AIDS Institute's website:
As each day passes, establishing a comprehensive record of the fight against AIDS becomes more difficult, and more individual stories of personal devastation and triumphs of the human spirit are lost to us forever. The World AIDS Institute is dedicated to creating innovative projects designed to preserve that history. A substantial part of our commitment is to ensure the stories of those who led the fight against AIDS and the stories of those who we lost are never forgotten.
As we look back on three decades of HIV/AIDS in America, it is so important that we remember that we are first and foremost looking back on the people who experienced it. We need to remember the stories of those we know and love who have been lost to HIV/AIDS. We need to record the stories of those who have lived through it - and are still living through it. And we need to learn the stories of the people we never had a chance to know.
Most importantly, we need to recognize that although the scariest times may be behind us, the movement to educate people about HIV/AIDS is still far from over - and may in fact be getting more challenging. Science continues to discover more about HIV/AIDS, and as a result, people are living longer, happier, healthier lives with it. But that also means that the combination of mystery and tragedy that drove much of the early focus on HIV/AIDS (especially in the media) is going away. We can't let our communities lose sight of how important it is to continue to educate people about HIV/AIDS, which is why events like this are so important.
By remembering and recognizing our past and our present, we create a better future.