December 1, 2021
Today, on World AIDS Day, we unite around the world to support those living with HIV and honor and remember those who have lost their lives from HIV/AIDS related illnesses.
This year, the theme of World AIDS Day is “End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics.” 32 years ago next month, seven members of the First Presbyterian Church came together to support their neighbors who were dying of AIDS at home, shuttered from their communities. We have come so far since then, but still serve the HIV/AIDS community and others living with serious illness – many of whom are impacted by social, economic, and/or racial inequalities that contribute to their health status.
I joined MANNA over two decades ago as an HIV/AIDS specialty dietitian in a time where people were afraid to shake my clients’ hands. For some, this is still true. In a time now when it is more vital than ever to nourish our neighbors and protect those who are most vulnerable, we must band together to not only ensure they are cared for but also work to fight the inequalities that exist as barriers to access, treatment, and human rights as a whole.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold here in Philadelphia and around the world, the inequalities are stark. Marginalized and minority populations are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, both in prevalence and mortality. We must all commit to doing the work to end these inequalities.
Please join me in taking a moment today to honor our current clients living with HIV, and honoring those who have passed. To learn more about World AIDS Day and this year’s theme, I encourage you to visit UNAIDS’ website here.
Sue Daugherty, RDN LDN