ACT-UP | AIDS/HIV | Peter Staley

Check Out These Stunning Interactive Maps of the State of HIV/AIDS in America

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Writing today in the Washington Post, pioneer AIDS activist Peter Staley calls for the LGBT community to recommit itself to fighting HIV and AIDS after this week's landmark wins for marriage equality at the Supreme Court:

[I]n our exaltation over wedded bliss, we are forgetting another kind of “til death do us part”: the bonds that tie us together as a group, across social strata, race and generations — the same bonds that helped us fight AIDS.

During the worst years of the AIDS crisis, from 1981 to the advent of effective medications in 1996, the gay community forged a new definition of love: It encompassed traditional romantic love, but it went beyond the love between two people. 

Today, though, we’re so caught up in the giddiness of the marriage-equality movement that we’ve abandoned the collective fight against HIV and AIDS.

Staley notes that the country's largest LGBT rights groups have pivoted almost exclusively to marriage equality, pointing out that the most recent annual reports from the three largest organizations--the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)--make no mention of the words 'HIV' or "AIDS.'

It's true that advances in HIV treatment have helped HIV-positive individuals live long, healthy lives.  But 15,000 people die of AIDS every year in the United States, and more than 1 million people in this country are living with the disease.  The issue continues to be more acutely felt in the LGBT community specifically--as Staley points out, more than half of today's college-aged gay men will be HIV-positive by age 50 if current infection rates remain constant.

In light of those numbers, AIDSVu has a fantastic and eye-opening new set of interactive maps that show the density of people living with HIV across the U.S. on a county-by-county basis.  You can play around with the maps by looking at individual states and even some major cities, as well as filtering results based on factors like age, race, sex, education, income and health insurance.

Here's the AIDSVu map for New York City.  Hopefully these data will be seen widely and will help spur a conversation in our community about the importance of highlighting HIV and AIDS as ongoing issues that affect all LGBT Americans.

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(photos courtesy of AIDSVu)

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  1. This:

    Posted by: Steve | Jun 29, 2013 1:34:43 PM

  2. It seems none of your links actually take you to the interactive portion of the map you discuss. I had to google it to find it. It is here:

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 29, 2013 2:25:19 PM

  3. After checking out the map I was very surprised at the south. I mean you expect Cities like New Orleans and Atlanta to have higher numbers but Yazoo Mississippi...that threw me for a loop.

    Posted by: longpastdue | Jun 29, 2013 2:33:28 PM

  4. All these pictures convey is that HIV infections are coloring maps orange and pink.

    Posted by: Critifur | Jun 29, 2013 2:57:08 PM

  5. Where are the interactive map links????

    Posted by: Bobby | Jun 29, 2013 3:08:30 PM

  6. I'm not sure why these maps are stunning. They don't reveal anything unexpected. Rates are, generally, higher in urban areas and in places that are younger. They're higher in places where more people are poorer and less educated. These are correlations that have been known for decades now. And the maps don't differentiate by orientation.

    Attention should, rightfully, be paid to advancing the marriage cause. What these interactive maps curiously do not show is that the HIV/AIDS rates (and other STD rates) in the U.S. among married couples are much, much lower than among singles or those in more flexible coupling arrangements. Having more LGBT individuals in long term relationships is likely to decrease HIV/AIDS in our community. Obviously condom usage helps too, but it's not an either/or scenario.

    Posted by: Edward | Jun 29, 2013 3:30:21 PM

  7. About last night... It's all there. Throw rice at that. HIV/AIDS doesn't belong to another generation.

    Posted by: BeSafe | Jun 29, 2013 3:32:11 PM

  8. Edward is in denial. Aids could never be a part of his world.

    Posted by: Reality | Jun 29, 2013 6:00:19 PM

  9. In 2004, Larry Kramer gave a speech at Cooper Union which has been published under the title The Tragedy of Today’s Gays in which he railed against all those he blamed for not acting effectively enough to stop the AIDS epidemic. But under the rage, there was guilt, because Kramer remembered those whom he might have infected:

    The sweet young boy who didn’t know anything and was in awe of me. I was the first man who f—-d him. I think I murdered him. The old boyfriend who did not want to go to bed with me and I made him. The man I let f— me because I was trying to make my then boyfriend, now lover, jealous… Has it never, ever occurred to you that not using a condom is tantamount to murder? I cannot believe you have never considered this. It is such a simple and intelligent thought to have. And we all should have had it from Day One. Why didn’t we? That has been haunting me for a long time, that question. Why didn’t we? It is incredibly selfish not to have at least thought that question…[132]

    Posted by: J330R | Jun 29, 2013 6:39:10 PM

  10. I'm sorry Jacob, but that is a crappy map. Interactive means that it would have controls beyond zoom. Plus it is separated into only counties. I don't know about everybody, but I need state lines to get in the general area of my county.

    Posted by: lessthan | Jun 29, 2013 8:27:07 PM

  11. Very sad and disturbing than younger gay men are still needlessly playing with the life.

    Posted by: jaragon | Jun 29, 2013 8:44:36 PM

  12. i brought up the alarming seroconversion rate thirty years into the epidemic on the sigorile show, and he told me I was annoying him (off the air) and hung up on me

    act up fight back...let's not talk about it

    Posted by: rick from nj | Jun 29, 2013 9:26:38 PM

  13. It doesn't matter how much you show people maps like these. Fact is many people young and old see HIV as a treatable disease. I'm no angel and have my share of fun, but I can't believe how many guys I've chatted with that ask, are you neg? I say yes ( I get tested every six months, even though I always play safe)and they say, cool me too I'll bb if you want. That basically ends the conversation for me. People just don't care.

    Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2013 10:02:56 PM

  14. Being careless about your health is letting the bullies win.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Jun 30, 2013 12:02:05 AM

  15. Map doesn't really show up for me; just a sliver of it with scroll bars using Firefox and Chrome.

    Posted by: zeddy | Jun 30, 2013 1:14:15 AM

  16. Map doesn't really show up for me; just a sliver of it with scroll bars using Firefox and Chrome.

    Posted by: zeddy | Jun 30, 2013 1:14:15 AM

  17. Oh much better here:

    Posted by: zeddy | Jun 30, 2013 1:20:32 AM

  18. @ James, that's alright. Straight men and women have to go through that, too. What shocks me is when women request bareback and are offended when told no.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 30, 2013 4:44:27 PM

  19. @Reality, is there something wrong with monogamy as an ideal among gay and lesbian couples? or with what Edward wrote?

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 30, 2013 4:46:01 PM

  20. So Florida is the epicenter? That's the conclusion I'd reach from these maps.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 30, 2013 5:17:38 PM

  21. I'd also say that it's fairly stunning to see the rates of uninsured people in the south and southwest, especially Texas. It's far too high. Now Texas has a huge Hispanic immigrant population; do they shy away from paying for employers health plans at a large rate? And/or, do unusually large percentages of Texas employers simply not offer heath benefits?

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 30, 2013 5:22:20 PM

  22. About that high incidence in Western Mississippi -- that's the Delta, which is overwhelmingly poor, uneducated and black.

    Posted by: Art Weiss | Jun 30, 2013 9:52:41 PM

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