I hesitated to write this week’s Ending the HIV Epidemic e-newsletter. Like too many of us, I am angry, scared, concerned, but mostly I am pissed off. Pissed off because they made me afraid. Afraid because too many things outside of my control can go wrong. I feel helpless and I hate feeling helpless.
At the same time, too many are dead from COVID, particularly within communities of color. There is a vaccine, but the roll-out is another gift from the administration. I know that many in our diverse communities are afraid to get the shot. I understand. Look around us. The world is going to hell in a handbag (I love that phrase) and you want me to take a vaccine that was developed too quickly. No sir, I am not your canary in the mine. For me, I trust Dr. Fauci. If Dr. Fauci says I should take the vaccine, that’s good enough for me. During these difficult times, we have to believe in something, and I believe in science.
The federal government needs 75% to 80% of Americans to get the shots. They will have to rebuild lots of trust with community to reach those types of numbers. That same trust is needed for federal PrEP and U=U efforts to succeed. Too many initiatives (DEBBI) don’t work because they were not centered in community. Trust is core to the solution; without it we are just another failed attempt to make a square peg fit into a round hole. When the Biden administration says Black Lives Matter, NMAC says prove it by ending the HIV epidemic.