How gay neighborhoods used the trauma of HIV to help US cities fight the coronavirus. cities

How gay neighborhoods used the trauma of HIV to help US cities fight the coronavirus. cities

During the pandemic, local neighborhoods have played an important and well-documented role in providing the health and social services American communities and businesses need to survive and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Gay Neighborhoods Fight HIV/AIDS

“Gaborhood” developed during the sexual liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s, allowing LGTBQ people and their allies to be freed from widespread discrimination and prejudice. In these areas, sexual minorities can rent apartments, socialize in bars and express themselves freely in a like-minded, compassionate community.

Photos: COVID-19 vaccination

TOPSHOT - Health professional Raymunda Nonata, 70, is vaccinated against COVID-19 inside her home with Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac Vaccine, the first quilombola (traditional Afro-descendant community member).  , Para State, Brazil, on January 19, 2021.  - The community of Quilombo Marazupena, 260 km from Belém, the capital of Para, has no electricity.  (Photo by Tarso Sarraf/AFP) (Photo by Tarso Sarraf/AFP via Getty Images)

When that mysterious new disease began to ravage the LGBTQ community in the 1980s, the US government turned away, not toward, those communities. Significant support to fight HIV – including health care subsidies for uninsured people and funding for research on treatments and cures – was not initially provided. The information provided by governments about disease transmission and treatment was inconsistent and sometimes inaccurate.

Government neglect stigmatized people with HIV and resulted in many avoidable deaths. So, as we uncovered in our most recent book, gay neighborhoods filled the void where government and mainstream organizations failed. They became the battlefields where the AIDS epidemic was fought and eventually won.

Public health organizations such as New York City’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis also stepped in to do what many doctors would not. They shared information about slowing and stopping the spread of HIV and also distributed condoms, conducted free HIV tests and connected those who tested positive to help.

Building community through crisis

For example, in New York, the Erie County Health Department has called for Evergreen Health – an LGBTQ community group originally founded in the 1980s as a volunteer effort to fight HIV – as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. requested to take responsibility for HIV testing during the period so that the county government can focus on COVID-19 testing. Evergreen also opened a drive-though COVID-19 testing center in the spring of 2020—four decades after it began HIV testing in the Buffalo area.

learned lessons

For example, New York state used a network of small laboratories to process its COVID-19 tests and administer vaccines – a model pioneered during the emergence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, when large, centralized laboratories Initially terrified of working with HIV positive blood. samples. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this allowed New York to respond effectively and process COVID-19 tests relatively quickly.


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