AIDS at 30: Noting the Progress, More Work Needed

For 25 years, GLAAD has worked to amplify the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Formed in New York in 1985 to protest the New York Post’s grossly defamatory and sensationalized coverage of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, GLAAD has worked tirelessly to empower individuals living with HIV/AIDS to tell their stories. Partnering with a number of HIV/AIDs-focused organizations as well as state equality groups, we’ve continued our efforts to monitor the media to ensure fair and balanced AIDS-related coverage and re-committed ourselves to working with reporters at outlets to make certain they understand that AIDS is not just an issue that affects gay and transgender Americans, but an issue that affects us all. And progress hasn’t stopped there. The faith community has made strides to be more welcoming and affirming of people living with HIV/AIDS. Thanks to progressive Jewish movements, condoms are now listed, along with food, as basic necessities. Mainline Protestant denominations have adopted similar approaches emphasizing education, safety, and personal responsibility, as well as dignity and access to health care for people with HIV/AIDS. The Buddist, Sikh and Hindu communities also continue promote compassion for people living with any type of illness and argue against stigmatization. Yet there remains work to be done. The Catholic Church has maintained its stance against the use of condoms, regardless of situation. In May 2011, the Vatican held a conference on AIDS and condom use that gave many hope that the church was ready to change its position. This change, sadly, did not come to pass.