November 30, 2018

Significant Progress, Miles to Go: Reflections on World AIDS Day

November 30, 2018

Eight years ago when A Positive Place was known as AIDS CARE/Hampshire County, staff began to raise awareness locally about the importance of people knowing their HIV status.

A Positive Place, Living with HIV and AIDS, a program of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton, MA 01060.At the time, 20 percent of people who were HIV+ were unaware of their status and at high risk of unknowingly transmitting the virus. As part of a campaign to raise community awareness, employees designed T-shirts, that on the front, asked, “Are you positive? Twenty percent of people who are, don’t know they are.” On the back, staff advised, “AIDS CARE/Hampshire County wants YOU to Get Tested.”

Fast forward to Dec 1, 2018 when people across the globe mark the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, with the annual theme of “Know your status.”

Significant progress has been made in the HIV response, and yet, still today only three in four people living with HIV know their status. Said Betsy Shally-Jensen, director, A Positive Place, “We still have miles to go. Those communities that carry the highest burden of disease acquisition are still those most marginalized, most stigmatized, and with the least access to high quality care – members of our Black, Latinx, gay and bisexual men, and transgender communities.”

To learn more about services offered at A Positive Place, visit their web page.