This past year was a banner one for waging war on AIDS in America. President Obama staffed up the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), reopened the Office of National AIDS Policy and invited several hundred people (many of them living with HIV) to the White House to celebrate the launch of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Needle exchange was approved—as was the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. the health care reform bill that will insure many who have HIV, albeit not until 2014). And the travel ban for HIV-positive people entering the United States was lifted. It was announced that, for the first time since 1990, the International AIDS Conference will again be held in America, this time in Washington, DC, in 2012.
In short, the POZ 100 is a powerful, influential, inspirational corps of warriors well-positioned to help shepherd in the end of the AIDS pandemic. Those on this list are leading the charge to abolish the stigma, discrimination and criminalization of HIV that keep people from getting tested, getting support—and connecting to lifesaving care. To banish HIV for good, we will need the help of many others already involved in or willing to join the fight.
We hope you will also celebrate the people on the POZ 100 and their good work. Support them. Write about them. Give them your ideas. Listen to them. Offer to work beside or for them. And, of course, applaud them. As we do now. Bravo to the 100 of you who tirelessly help those living with HIV/AIDS and who work to ensure others don’t contract the virus.
Click here to meet the POZ 100.