Violence is a contagious and epidemic health problem and those exposed to it deserve treatment, compassion and care, writes Gary SlutkinWhen the Aids epidemic first hit in the early 1980s, I was beginning my career in epidemiology at San Francisco general hospital. There was fear everywhere, especially in cities with large LGBT populations such as San Francisco. People didn’t understand what was happening and where Aids would strike next.Today, Aids remains a major public health threat, but anxiety over the spread has largely abated. The thing that made the biggest difference in getting us here was the shift in how the world looks at people affected by Aids: from immoral people or bad people, to people with a contagious health problem who deserve to receive compassion and care. Continue reading...
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'It was wartime': 3 survivors of the AIDS epidemic share the hard lessons on love and resiliency they learned in the '80s that are helping them make it through the coronavirus crisis
Survivors of the HIV/AIDs epidemic share three life-saving lessons for coping with COVID-19. The HIV/AIDS epidemic...Survivors of the HIV/AIDs epidemic share three life-saving lessons for coping with COVID-19. The HIV/AIDS epidemic changed American culture. Since 1981, 75 million people have had the HIV virus and approximately 32 million have died. Everything from practicing compassion to developing tolerance can help you get through this tough time. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. From overwhelmed hospital systems to mass panic and virus-related stigma, the issues arising from COVID-19 have changed life permanently. Experts have touted this crisis as the "new normal" as a result. But, for older generations of LGBTQ people, these issues are all too familiar. Joey Terrill is the director of community partnerships at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a non-profit offering AIDS prevention and patient advocacy services in Los Angeles, California. Terrill, 64, told Business Insider that LGBTQ seniors who survived the AIDS epidemic have the life experience needed for battling COVID-19. "I felt like when AIDs hit, it was war. It was wartime and I had to step up and be a soldier in that war, and I'm still a soldier to this day," Terrill said. The HIV/AIDS epidemic not only claimed millions of lives, but drastically changed public life. Since 1981, 75 million people have had the HIV virus and approximately 32 million have died. Although the coronavirus pandemic has killed almost 90,000 people in the US, the death toll of HIV/AIDs is still more far-reaching, Business Insider reported. And coronavirus is not stigmatized in the same manner as AIDS. People living with HIV still experience discrimination like being denied health services or isolation from their families, according to the CDC. This stigma comes from a fear of HIV. Nearly one in every eight people living with HIV have been denied health care because of discrimination, shows a 2017 report from the global HIV advocacy organization UNAIDs. The LGBTQ seniors interviewed below experienced this firsthand — they have all dedicated their careers, either in public health or the arts, to fighting HIV stigma. Business Insider asked them to reflect on the lessons they learned from that era. Here's what helped them survive. 1. Learn to have compassion for others One of the easiest ways to support someone through a health crisis is through acts of service. Davidson Garrett, 67, a poet and former taxi driver, said that, during the AIDS epidemic, many in the queer community were linked to someone living with HIV/AIDS. He recalled rushing his friends who were HIV positive to the hospital and running errands for them. Garrett even helped fulfill his friend's last wish to listen to opera while on his death bed. "He could barely move in his hospital bed, but he wanted me to be near him to listen to opera cause that's what we did together," Garrett said. "What I did learn from the AIDS crisis is that we all can be a part of the solution." "I certainly don't have a cure for HIV," he added. "I'm not a medical doctor, but I could be there for somebody emotionally." Now, amid the coronavirus outbreak, Garrett recommends reaching out by phone to families who have relatives battling COVID-19. "With the coronavirus, you can't really be there with that person," Garrett said. "Call their families and let them know that you're thinking of them and get them some compassion and love." 2. Develop a sense of urgency in your life During the AIDS crisis, Terrill, director of the Aids Healthcare Foundation, said he learned the importance of urgency when working with his first AIDs-related client at a center for vision loss. He said that most AIDS/HIV patients didn't have the luxury of time for spaced out appointments. "They don't have two weeks — they could be dead in two weeks," recalled Terrill, who noted that the patient had a packed schedule of necessary appointments. "It was the immediacy of the way that AIDS was affecting people that altered the way we were providing services." To remedy these issues, Terrill began offering at-home appointments, which were more convenient and accessible for patients. Now, the medical system is facing a similar issue, where speedy care is necessary for survival. "Prior to a pandemic like this, we are all pretty complacent," Terrill said. "We go about our daily lives and we never really think about the idea of transmitting a virus from touching or not touching something." Terrill said that people can prioritize their behaviors and weigh the risks. During the coronavirus pandemic, the public is learning how adhering to basic hygiene — such as washing their hands or wearing a mask in public — can potentially save another person's life. "The urgency relates to how we can allow ourselves to get sick and die or not. Do we care if our neighbors get sick, [or] die or not?" Terrill said. "That, to me, is the urgency over whether or not I'm going to complain about not being able to go to see my sports team, or being able to go to the club and drink." 3. Practice tolerance During the AIDs epidemic, Steve Karpiak, 74, the managing director of the Gay Men's Health Center in New York said he became "numb" to hearing people were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Now, elders who survived that era struggle with isolation related to their HIV status. "They are alone, they are depressed, don't have good mental health care and their community has abandoned them," said Karpiak. "The fear of HIV/AIDs continues to this day." "Someone will go home to visit their family member and there's a newborn child and they will not let the person pick up the child or eat off the same dishes or utensils," he added. Elders may also not have their needs prioritized because of their ages. Karpiak said COVID-19 has only heightened incidences of age discrimination in the US. In March, Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick, who is 70 years old, told Fox New Host Tucker Carlson the restrictions on the economy were worse than dying, and said "those of us who are 70+" would "take care of ourselves." "But don't sacrifice the country, don't do that," he added. Karpiak said these statements are "outrageous." He added, "We tend to think about older folks as being disposable." Going forward, Karpiak hopes people can learn the importance of treating elders as valuable. "How we take care of our elderly are telling about who we are," he added. And although COVID-19 has hit the LGBTQ community especially hard, many still find lending a hand to others is the best tool for uniting on the frontlines. "We need to care for each other more," Karpiak said. He added: "Caregiving is an important part of our social fabric." SEE ALSO: How the coronavirus death toll compares to other pandemics, including SARS, HIV, and the Black Death Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Tax Day is now July 15 — this is what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
Jack Dorsey just unveiled where he's donated more than $87 million of his pledged $1 billion towards COVID-19 relief
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has donated over $87 million towards his COVID-19 relief pledge. His donations...Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has donated over $87 million towards his COVID-19 relief pledge. His donations have ranged across a number of causes from stopping domestic violence, to giving equal access to the internet for students. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced last month that he was donating $1 billion of his Square equity to COVID-19 relief, and so far he's dispersed over $87 million. Dorsey created a new charity fund called Start Small LLC, which will initially focus on relief efforts to help with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Dorsey estimated that the fund is around 28% of his total wealth. The Twitter CEO released a spreadsheet, which so far only shows $73 million in donations, accounting for how much and to where donations are being made. According to the spreadsheet, Dorsey has made contributions to organizations tackling domestic violence due to the pandemic, HIV/AIDS, refugees, advocacy for prisoners, among many others. #startsmall is up to $87.8M in disbursements. Most are in the tracking sheet, some in process for next week. Interested in helping? All these are incredible and impactful orgs...find one that resonates with you. And now a thread on 6 new grants... https://t.co/NEvCyaBuMh — jack (@jack) May 15, 2020 However, in a tweet, Dorsey added that there are several initiatives that have not been added to the spreadsheet yet. Dorsey has so far donated over $1.3 million to two organizations that will screen for HIV as well as address how the current pandemic is impacting HIV in marginalized communities. "Funds will support the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support EJAF frontline partners to respond to the pandemic and its' effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalized communities," Dorsey's spreadsheet wrote. Experts have worried efforts to limit the spread of and treat infectious diseases like HIV could be significantly reduced due to the pandemic. Tolbert Nyenswah, a research associate at Johns Hopkins University, previously told Business Insider that in countries where patients rely on clinics for medication, a lack of personal protective equipment means entire facilities that many rely on could be shut down if one hospital worker gets sicks. That leaves people dealing with infectious diseases at risk. "This will have longtime consequences for decades to come," Nyenswah said Domestic violence has also increased as more people were sheltering in place. Business Insider previously reported that calls to hotlines in major cities increased during the lockdown. Dorsey is funding multiple initiatives to address the concern totaling more than $2.2 million. He's also invested in organizations that provide necessary food for people in need, providing support for the homeless, mental health initiatives, as well as $10 million into the Oakland School Fund to close the educational gap between students who don't access to the internet and those who do. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, officials in Oakland launched the initiative on Thursday to raise $12.5 million for 25,000 laptops and internet hotspots to families in the city. In a tweet Dorsey' wrote that he saw the initiative and funded it "immediately." "$10mm to give EVERY single child in Oakland access to a laptop and internet in their homes, closing the digital divide," he wrote on Twitter. The Chronicle added that 50,000 students in the cities public school system "are disconnected or under-connected from technology at home." Here's a list of all of Dorsey's contributions so far: Mayor's Fund LA-$2,100,000.00 Direct Relief-$2,000,000.00 Masks For The People-$1,000,000.00 GiveDirectly-$333,333.00 New York City's Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence-$161,815.00 Covenant House (New Orleans)-$167,000.00 World Central Kitchen (New Orleans)-$333,000.00 Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans & Acadiana-$333,000.00 Total Community Action-$167,000.00 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-$333,000.00 Hispanic Federation Non-Profit Emergency Assistance Fund of Puerto Rico-$167,000.00 The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation / GAIA's Community-Based HIV Testing Services-$33,000.00 Direct Relief-$26,667.00 Team Humanity-$13,333.00 CDE Foundation-$1,000,000.00 Hospitality Helps-$100,000.00 Indiana University Foundation-$25,000.00 UCSF Foundation-$300,000.00 Share Our Strength (No Kid Hungry)-$207,500.00 World Central Kitchen-$207,500.00 UCLA Foundation-$415,000.00 NAMI: National-$41,500.00 NAMI: Greater Houston-$124,500.00 NAMI: New Orleans-$83,000.00 NAMI: New York-$83,000.00 NAMI: Metro (Detroit)-$83,000.00 Matthew 25: Ministries-$830,000.00 Bread of Life, Inc.-$830,000.00 Dia de la Mujer Latina-$415,000.00 Food Bank Council of Michigan-$297,180.00 The Bail Project, Inc.-$25,000.00 Community Foundation of Greater Flint-$425,000.00 Freedom House-$50,000.00 Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund-$125,000.00 Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency-$500,000.00 Southwest Counseling Solutions-$79,000.00 DigDeep - Navajo Water Project-$1,000,000.00 Community Association of Big Sur-$100,000.00 CORE: Community Organized Relief Effort-$10,000,000.00 Give2SF-$15,000,000.00 Elton John AIDS Foundation-$1,000,000.00 Oakland Public Education Fund-$10,000,000.00 Project 100=$10,000,000.00 Live In Peace-$530,000.00 CommonLit-$600,000.00 Mayvenn-$500,000.00 Think of Us -$450,000.00 Kakenya's Dream -$720,000.00 REFORM Alliance - $10,000,000.00 Dorsey said after that after COVID-19 is contained, his charity will focus on funding girls' health and education, as well as universal basic income, Business Insider previously reported. "Why UBI and girl's health and education? I believe they represent the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world," Dorsey said in a follow-up tweet. "UBI is a great idea needing experimentation. Girl's health and education is critical to balance."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
Trump and Bolsonaro have been a liability in the face of coronavirus, their toxic masculinity leading...Trump and Bolsonaro have been a liability in the face of coronavirus, their toxic masculinity leading to deadly decisionsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageFor the entirety of Ronald Reagan’s first term, despite overwhelming evidence that Aids was a public health crisis, he brushed off the disease’s severity, saying “it would go away”. By 1987, Aids had killed more than 29,000 Americans. In that same year, Don Francis, an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before Congress that Reagan’s administration caused “untold hardship, misery and expense to the American public” by obstructing, resisting and interfering with policies and programmes designed to prevent the Aids epidemic in the US.Certain factors at play in the Aids epidemic are not at play in our current pandemic: most obviously, Covid-19 is not associated with the gay community. Nonetheless, there are echoes of Reagan’s response to the Aids epidemic. Last month, days after California had declared a state of emergency and Seattle schools had begun to close, Donald Trump asserted that Covid-19 would simply “go away”. Shortly before that, he said that it would “disappear … like a miracle”. Trump was joined in his parade of denialby other far-right populist leaders, especially Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro. In March, he described Covid-19 as a “little flu” that does not warrant “hysteria”, and claimed that Brazil would be protected from the virus by its climate and youthful population. Continue reading...