In late April 2020, Anthony Fauci was standing next to the president of the United States, Donald Trump, taking part in a White House briefing, discussing strategies that can potentially end the current COVID-19 pandemic, and help us get back to our normal lives as soon as possible. Many of you may not recognize the name Anthony Fauci, but that is not the case with the gay and bi community in the United States.
Who Is Anthony Fauci?
Anthony Fauci is an American physician and immunologist who has served the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since the 1980s which is when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was happening all around the world. Faced with this new virus and the troubling disease that it was causing it, Anthony Fauci and his colleagues were struggling to find an answer to the origins of the virus itself as well as the potential treatment and cure.
Today, HIV/AIDS survivors remind us of those times and warn us about the importance of taking that very same epidemic as an example of what we should and should not do today as we face yet another pandemic. Since the initial HIV/AIDS outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports nearly 32 million people have lost their lives due to HIV/AIDS, while 75 million in total have been infected. COVID-19 has appeared first in late December 2019 and has managed to infect 2 million people, while killing about 165,000.
Many gay and bi men talk about the current pandemic and the similarities, but also differences, that can be easily spotted when compared to the one that has happened nearly 40 years ago. Much like HIV/AIDS, our behavior can help limit the spread of COVID-19, which is why it is very important to follow the provided guidelines that recommend social distancing and self-isolation similar to how changes in behavior have helped reduce the number of infected by HIV/AIDS.
In the United States, certain populations seem to be exposed to a greater risk of COVID-19, similar to how gay and bi men were once exposed to a bigger risk of AIDS/HIV. In the case of COVID-19, it is those in the African American community that are the most vulnerable. The most probable reason as to why that is is the limited access to health care resources that this population usually has.
We Saw This Before But This Maybe Worse
The AIDS/HIV epidemic has sure taught us a lesson that we can use in these uncertain times. Back then, we managed to see what the result was of the lack of awareness, testing, and refusing to change our behavior. Now we get to rely on that information as well as new technology to help us manage the current situation the best that we can.