I’ve been involved in HIV/AIDS for a long time. My mother was an HIV nurse in downtown Detroit in the 1990s, and I’ve worked on the epidemic in Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Mozambique, Namibia, and other countries. I’m sad for the millions of deaths from AIDS globally and the inequity which made it happen. Many of my patients have done well, but I fear others have fallen through the cracks, because of our broken health care system.
What I would say is this: we each need to speak out – and sing out – for justice. That means access to PrEP to prevent HIV infection. We need lifesaving ARVs for everyone who is infected with the virus. We need scientific innovations, like new ARVs. Long-acting injectable cabotegravir is a good start, but we need longer acting ARVs as well. And most of all, we need an effective HIV vaccine.
Meanwhile, people with HIV need access to lifesaving COVID vaccines, in Sub-Saharan Africa and everywhere. Omicron is making that obvious. We are all interconnected.
However, biomedical interventions like pills and vaccines are not the solution by themselves. People need much better public schools, and jobs, so they can thrive. We need communities free from violence and discrimination, to put an end to HIV. We need healing.