DECONSTRUCTION SERIES: AIDS IS NOT OVER
Everyone portrayed here has died from AIDS. They are amazing people who have influenced culture forever.
This collection will remain perpetually in progress until AIDS has been eliminated.
To date, 36 million people have died since the start of the AIDS epidemic, and 6,000 new HIV infections occur every day.
We have been lead to treat it cavalierly and casually. But the facts remain. I witnessed hundreds of thousands of the most amazing people die in New York when I was a teenager, including several friends - and countless others - who were among some of the most innovative and creative people to ever walk the earth.
They must be remembered and we must find more than management tools for medicine rackiteering companies to profit from. We must find a cure.
The article excerpts below are by Eric Sasson for New Republic.com
New infections of HIV are on the rise among younger gay men, and remain stubbornly high overall in the U.S. at around 50,000 a year. 15,000 people a year still die here, despite the fact that effective medications are readily available and covered by insurance. As a recent New Republic article pointed out, the U.S. significantly lags all other developed countries in reducing mortality rates, as well as access to life-saving health care.
Perhaps AIDS gets less coverage today because the face of the disease has changed. Today, Hispanic and African American populations are disproportionately affected, and new HIV infections appear to be rising in areas like the Deep South, where there's less access to adequate healthcare and the stigma of HIV remains high. These are not the faces of the gay community we see on TV, which skew overwhelmingly white, urban, affluent, and more often than not male. As AIDS now hits these less visible communities the hardest, are we all that surprised to see it follow a trend familiar to these communities: less funding, less outrage, and less coverage in the mainstream media? Activists have long complained about the dearth of coverage in the MSM around issues of poverty and disadvantaged communities, and statistics back it up: there is less reporting on poverty in America than on any other major societal issue. So it is with AIDS.
The Normal Heart, along with Dallas Buyers Club, are ushering in a new kind of AIDS film, one that is finally willing to mount a damning indictment of our national and local governments' silence and negligence in the face of the growing epidemic, a silence which led to fear-mongering and homophobia so profound that a famous musician wore an “AIDS kills fags dead” t-shirt, people were afraid to use public toilet seats, and some didn't even want to be in the vicinity of the infected.
This is still going on today.