by Joe Siegel
Nearly four decades after the first cases of AIDS appeared, the epidemic has seen a massive reduction in deaths due to new drugs in the marketplace. LGBTQ publications continue to provide substantial coverage of the topic and editors note the disease remains a problem in the community.
Paul Schindler, editor of New York’s Gay City News, believes the recognition of World AIDS Day is still important.
“World AIDS Day, among many other things, is when the state and the city announce their data on new HIV diagnoses and estimates of new HIV infections for the previous calendar year,” said Schindler. “Given that we have been tracking each year since 2014 and the stated plan to ‘end the epidemic’ by 2020 in New York State (which involves having no more than 600 new infections in the city and 750 in the state), those numbers have always been the source of considerable coverage in the newspaper.”
San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter (BAR) started its coverage early, according to news editor Cynthia Laird.
“We were given advance notice by the National AIDS Memorial Grove of its plans to take over stewardship of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and had a story ready to post online November 20 – breaking the news – when they held the announcement ceremony,” said Laird. “It was a big story, as the quilt and co-founders Cleve Jones and Mike Smith still reside in San Francisco (Smith splits time with North Carolina) and many of our readers are familiar with both the AIDS grove and the quilt.”
BAR also ran a roundup of local World AIDS Day events on November 28. “Additionally, we had a story on a new study showing that young people didn’t report using condoms or PrEP, and another piece on a Los Angeles television host’s new website aimed at lessening stigma,” Laird noted. “I also ran an op-ed from one of the college students who received a Pedro Zamora scholarship through the AIDS grove. The [student] wrote a great piece on how the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule is detrimental to HIV/AIDS care.”
The Washington Blade provided a listing of several events coinciding with World AIDS Day. And on December 5, the newspaper was spotlighted in a photographic history of HIV/AIDS in the nation’s capital. The exhibit featured stories and photos from the Blade archives and was presented by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
The event featured the Blade’s senior news reporter Lou Chibbaro Jr. in a conversation with longtime HIV survivor Ron Swanda.
Philadelphia Gay News featured a story about the 28th annual Friends for Life Awards event held by Action Wellness, a nonprofit that helps those in the Greater Philadelphia area living with chronic diseases. According to PGN, “The Friends for Life Award, Action Wellness’ highest honor, intends to embody the organization’s mission that ‘No one should face HIV or chronic illness alone.’”
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