Thursday, December 1, 2011

Honoring World AIDS Day

As a gay and vegan blogger, I have noticed that whenever I blog about HIV or AIDS, fewer people read my blog. I think for many poeple, AIDS is just not on their radar screen. Nonetheless, it's World AIDS Day and I couldn't not write about this day and HIV/AIDS.

AIDS has had a huge affect on my life. It is all very personal to me. The loss from AIDS has been deep, extremely sad, and has completely altered my life.

HIV/AIDS organizations say that in the US a person becomes HIV positive every 9.5 minutes. In 2011. The numbers are crazy. Here in Colorado over 200 people became HIV positive last year, a number that has not changed much in the past several years. Even worse, the stigma against people living with HIV or AIDS is just as strong as ever.

Meanwhile, here we are at another World AIDS Day. I have the constant list of friends and dear friends in my head that bring me to tears on this day, and other days. This blog would not be complete without mentioning Felix Godinez, one of my dearest friends ever, who lost his battle with AIDS on July 6, 1992 at the age of 30. The world changed that day. I count myself tremendously lucky to have known Felix and to have loved him. I think of him almost every day. If you have ever received a hug from me, well, I learned how to really hug from Felix. To hug someone like you mean it. 42,000+ other people in the US lost their battle with AIDS that same year.

Throughout the world today there will be marches, protests, candlelight vigils, concerts, speeches, tears, memorials. In Boulder the Denver Gay Men's Chorus will sing for Boulder County AIDS Project's annual World AIDS Day Concert. The concert is one of the most emotional events I have experienced in many years. Personal stories around HIV/AIDS from chorus members mixed with incredibly beautiful music.

As a vegan, human rights activist and animal rights activist, I learned much from the AIDS movement I was part of in the late 80's through the late 90's. I learned a lot from those with Act Up and Queer Nation. Speak out. Work with fellow activists rather than against them. Stand up. Civil disobedience. Getting in front of politicians at their community meetings and confronting them on their inaction.

In memory of all of those we have lost, no matter how long ago it was that we lost them. You are missed and we will not forget you. We are better people for having shared our lives with you.

Thanks for reading.


  1. I feel like an idiot, but I really had no idea that there were still so many people contracting the virus. Thanks for your enlightening post!

  2. Such a wonderful post.

    I've found that if I post about something that's not so "happy happy joy joy" (for lack of a better explanation at this moment), that although that post may get many views that many fewer comment than usual. So many don't know what to say, but IMO, silence in cases like this only do harm. I'm glad you posted about such an important thing.

  3. Dan, Thanks for passing your love along via The Felix Hug. I love them! And I'm sure I would have loved him too. Bless those who are battling with HIV/AIDS and those who have lost that battle. Thank you for taking the time again today to continue to spread this important message, that AIDS IS NOT OVER. But let us celebrate life, love, peace, and hope today within our communities all over the world! May there always be voices as strong and hearts as big as yours, Dan. Much love.

  4. I love this post. Made me teary. Xo

  5. Thank You Dan, Some things need said so thank you for your blog. I'm in Ireland where HIV & Aids is not a huge issue but I have known a few who lost their battle and I thought of them on Thursday. You'e right though, AIDS has not gone away. Hugs from Ireland

  6. Well, I'm glad you posted. HIV affects everyone, whether they're willing to admit it or not! Thank you!!!!!

  7. So many people just have their heads in the sand, thinking that HIV and AIDS are something that only happen to "other people". It's terribly sad.

    I thought this was a really nice way for you to remember and honor your friends, and everyone else who was taken too soon.