14777623_l-1024x1024As we prepare to observe World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1st—a day dedicated to raising awareness about the long-standing impacts of the disease and honoring the lives lost—we recognize the mixed news about our efforts to meet this ongoing challenge.

While overall HIV and AIDS transmissions are decreasing, there’s a worrying trend: an increase in transmission for young black and Latinx queer people, particularly transgender people of color.

About 1 in 11 white, queer men are projected to be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes, while overall the risk for queer men is 1 in 6. But, the projections for black, queer men are about 1 in 2 and about 1 in 4 for Latinx, queer men. A 2009 National Institute of Health study found that black and Latinx transgender women had the highest infection rates.

In partnership with you, we at Pride Foundation have, for the last 31 years, made strategic and diverse investments to address the steadily evolving nature of HIV and AIDS. And we will continue funding this critical work until everyone in every community has access to the resources and support they need.

So, on World AIDS day, we remind ourselves of the losses we have faced and the work that lies ahead in their memory.

It is also important to acknowledge there is reason for optimism. More treatment options are becoming available and, while there’s no cure or vaccine, both are in development here in the U.S. and abroad. And there are dedicated organizations across the Northwest committed to reducing HIV and AIDS transmission.

Just last month, we awarded grants to HIV and AIDS service organizations in hard to reach rural areas, including Spokane AIDS Network and Four As (Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association), where state and federal funding for prevention and education has been cut. North Idaho AIDS Coalition received Pride Foundation funding for a mobile HIV testing unit and Cascade AIDS Project in Oregon received a grant from us to expand its primary care clinic. The list of innovative and impactful organizations goes on.

In this moment, we are reminded of our community’s strength and resilience through difficult times. With this as our inspiration, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to close the gap in services so that all communities are supported and all communities are resourced.

On World AIDS Day, we honor and celebrate those we’ve lost and express gratitude for those working alongside us to make our dream of an AIDS-free future a reality.

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