Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, roughly 33 million people have died from HIV/AIDS-related complications. Throughout the decades, we have learned how to adapt to new harm reduction tools, education, and medication as we continue to fight to end new transmissions. We rallied as a community and built a movement. Every year, on World AIDS Day, we honor the lives of those we lost along the way and recommit ourselves to work yet to be done.
My hope is that we can use what we’ve learned from fighting that HIV/AIDS pandemic to combat COVID-19. Globally, we have lost 1.5 million lives to COVID-19. While vaccines are on the way, at this moment, however, hospitals in our region and across the country are being overrun, and medical professionals are urging us to double down on our efforts to curb the spread. It is important that each of us takes personal responsibility for the state of our public health, because if we don’t the next couple of months will be far deadlier and harder to cope with than we’d had hoped. Our work is not done.
In 2020 we’ve all had to change our way of life. So many of us have lost too many. Some of our most beloved businesses have shuttered due to COVID-19 outbreaks or have closed permanently. We need to continue to adapt ourselves and our traditions throughout the holiday season. In order to keep your physical and mental health intact, you can still find meaningful LGBTQ community resources and connections in virtual spaces.
I know it’s hard, but we’re almost there. This isn’t our first pandemic. Let’s lean on our queer wisdom, experience, and resilience to keep our family and friends healthy and safe so that in 2021, we can come together again in celebration. I look forward to that day when Together We Rise.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride