World AIDS Day: Observe and Remember

I’ve put together a few videos from YouTube. Some are recent messages. Others are meant to stir the memory about events past. To everyone we’ve lost to this horrible pandemic, we remember you today.

Two AIDS Messages, one from Joe Solmonese of HRC, the other from Bono.

World AIDS Day PSA

here! News segment on Times Talks with Larry Kramer and Anthony Fauci, and a short documentary on the AIDS Quilt made 10 years ago.

Pedro Zamora’s “wedding” to Sean Sasser on MTV’s the Real World, and Sasser as an activist.

Longtime Companion Trailer, and a scene from Angels in America.


road.jpg World AIDS Day marks 25 years of AIDS: “Globally, the disease killed nearly 3.5 million people of working age in 2005. The first case of AIDS was diagnosed 25 years ago, UN chief Kofi Annan reminded reporters on Thursday. Since that case, a further 25 million people have been killed by the disease – and today 40 million remain infected with HIV, many with little hope for the future. ‘Accountability – the theme of this World AIDS Day – requires every president and prime minister, every parliamentarian and politician, to decide and declare that ‘AIDS stops with me,” said Annan, who is soon to step down as UN secretary general. ‘And it requires every one of us to help bring AIDS out of the shadows, and spread the message that silence is death.’ Former US president Bill Clinton and his charitable foundation also took the opportunity of World AIDS Day to announce a deal made with Indian drug companies to provide cheaper antiretroviral drugs aimed at children.”

road.jpg Bristol-Myers Squibb “Light to Unite” Campaign will donate $1 for every candle lit on their website to the National AIDS Fund, up to $100,000 and it appears as if they’ve already reached their goal.

road.jpg London’s gay bars uniting to support AIDS charity GMFA: “A range of bars all over the Capital will be donating much-needed money to the charity, including The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, King William IV in Hampstead, Comptons of Soho, Escape Bar in Soho, Kasbar in Clapham and new club night Big in the City at Mass in Brixton.”

road.jpg Keith Boykin debunks myths about black gay men and AIDS.

road.jpg NewNowNext has a listing of World AIDS Day events, including a concert to Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

road.jpg Project T and the HIV Vaccine Trials.

road.jpg 950 dead every day in South Africa from AIDS.

road.jpg will publish a World AIDS Day podcast today.

road.jpg World AIDS Day in Brazil: “FYI, approximately 600,000 people live with HIV/ Aids in Brazil, but the government has managed to keep the number from rising since the year 2000. While the rate of transmission from mother to child during pregnancy has fallen 51.5% in the last decade, the number of cases of Aids in the black population has risen significantly.”


  1. says

    “An Exhortation To A Weary Army”
    By Keith Boykin
    Chicago, Illinois, July 15, 2006
    Opening Ceremonies – Gay Games VII

    It has been 25 years since the war started, and 25 million people have perished. Last year, more than 3 million people died of AIDS. That’s three million coffins, three million eulogies, three million families.

    But the war is far from over. Every 10 seconds, someone on the planet dies of AIDS. More than 8,000 people will die today from this disease. Eighteen of them will die before I leave this field.

    Many of us here tonight know all too well the toll that AIDS has taken. We have been fighting this war, battle by battle, deep in the trenches, out on the front lines for decades. And many of us are tired. When we look at the quilt, we are understandably heartbroken, for we see more than names and patches sewn into a fabric; we see the faces of our friends, lovers, brothers, sisters, parents and children.

    We have fought the good fight, but we are a weary army in desperate need of comfort and assurance. So as we gather today, we have come to a turning point in this conflict.

    The poet Essex Hemphill tells us that he conquered his sorrow after the loss of a good friend by taking up the cause of his friend. “When my brother fell, I picked up his weapons,” he said.

    Like Hemphill, we must pick up the weapons left behind by our sisters and brothers in the struggle. To those who have gone before us, we honor them not by erecting new statues on pedestals, but by finishing the work that they began.

    Our ceremony is not only a memorial, but a rededication. Tonight we commit ourselves not just to the legacy of the dead, but also to the hopes of the living. We pledge to be vigilant in this fight until victory is won.

    As long as 40 million people on this planet are living with AIDS, we cannot give up. As long as 5 million people are infected with HIV every year, we cannot give up. As long as there is one person living with this virus, we cannot give up. Until there is a cure, there must be a fight.

    Make no mistake about it, the cavalry will not come to save us. But this is not the time to wave the white flag of surrender. This is the time to fight back. You see, we are the cavalry. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. This is our moment in history. We are closer to victory than we may realize, and we have come too far to turn back now. So let us move forward.

    Battle fatigued and war weary, we march on.
    Sometimes beaten but never defeated, we march on.
    Down but not out, we march on.
    In memory of yesterday, we march on.
    With courage for today, we march on.
    With hope for tomorrow, we march on.

  2. says

    Good stuff. I appreciate being reminded of Pedro Zamora’s contribution to our community. He is an icon whose integrity, honesty and activism made such tremendous impact. I know watching him on TV when I was a teen truly changed my life.

  3. CDB of MN says

    Nice to see this event is getting due attention someplace, even if not in the mainstream media.
    However, is anyone else a little irked to see Bono preaching at us every time a high profile, global issue comes up? The man’s hat has flown in its own 1st class seat, and he moved his business to avoid Ireland’s social program-heavy taxes. He’s probably contributing less to anti-AIDS programs in his own country than he did 5 years ago. This seems like more of an image thing than a genuine desire to do good.

  4. Leland says

    Thanks, Kile, for the Boykin essay, though I’d like to know a little more about what the full Bono story is. Until then, I give him huge credit for the good he’s done, including the BRILLIANT Red campaign, while, at the same time, once again pointing out that Steve “I Fuck Myself With Rolls of Thousand Dollar Bills” Jobs is giving the least percentage of purchase price to AIDS of all the major businesses involved.

    ChrisB, wonderful to so agree with you about something after our differences yesterday. Though much older than you, I was equally moved by Pedro Zamora, and I am convinced that were he alive and healthy today our world would be a much better place. We could sure use his passion and eloquence in the place of all the mealy mouthed spokespeeps we have now. I recommend his “Real World” housemate cartoonist Judd Winnick’s book, “Pedro & Me, Friendship, Loss, & What I Learned” if you haven’t seen it. Along with retelling Pedro’s story in an extremely touching and effective way for young readers, it reveals just who in that house really cared enough about Pedro to be with him in his last days.

    Finally, could anything better illustrate my abhorence at the current pitiful, arrogant state of HRC than its commandante posing beside an HRC flag like a fucking president of a country?! Earth to Solomnese et al.: you are NOT an empire. Use of the equal symbol in other ways is effective, but, while I’m sure you’ve copyrighted this particular variation, the idea of, the heart of gay equality does not, repeat does NOT belong to you!

    What next? The Reichen Flag?

  5. Tom says

    What a beautiful (and brave) man Pedro Zamora was. He will always be remembered.

    Would love an update on his partner. Anyone know what became of Sean? I hope he’s alive and thriving.

  6. Leland says

    Couldn’t Google anything about Sasser after 1998/99 about the time that interview was done. But I was reminded that that “absolutely totally homo hating bastard Bill Clinton” [that’s sarcasm, folks] not only called Zamora in the hospital shortly before he died, but arranged with Cuba to allow his siblings still there to leave to visit him in Miami—the first time they had seen him in some 15 years.

    In the statement he released upon Zamora’s death [the day after the last episode of his season of “Real World” was broadcast], he said:

    “In his short life, Pedro educated and enlightened our Nation. He taught all of us that AIDS is a disease with a human face and one that affects every American, indeed every citizen, of the world. And he taught people living with AIDS how to fight for their rights and live with dignity.

    Pedro was particularly instrumental in reaching out to his own generation, where AIDS is striking hard. Through his work with MTV, he taught young people that ‘The Real World’ includes AIDS and that each of us has the responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

  7. Oscar says

    As a person that have dealt with AIDS pacients first hand. I took care of a few friends, (at home or at their house), because nobody wanted them, Today I feel very little compassion for the people that get the HIV. AIDS, HIV contagion is the most preventable of diseases. The medicines are: condoms, monogamy or abstinence. If one does not want to abide by these, one should be responsable for one actions. Up to 10 years ago I would understand getting the disease, but now is ridiculous. It is all media hipe and for the celebrities to make tabloid news. Distribute condoms and lit. quietly and put the millions of propaganda bucks where they count

  8. Anon says

    Season three of The Real World was the only one I watched all the way thru. The show stopped being interesting after season four. In all honesty their portrayal of Pedro Zamora was either dishonest or he really was a smug, self-satisfied, self-important hot-head and unlikeable jerk, along with David “Puck” Rainey, his smarmy, disfunctional and anti-social antagonist for the show. I’m not one to conflate someone’s status with their personality, so they did a hatchet job on Pedro or he was not the saint portrayed in the media. I tend towards the latter view because I think they wanted him to be the season’s hero and Puck the villain, with lots of needlessly encouraged conflict as is the norm on that show. It was always “I’m so wonderful” and my-way-or-the-highway with Pedro. I also got the impression that Sean had broken up with him before he died. Being an activist does not make you likeable or even wonderful.

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