BY Matthew Lawrence
[UPDATE: There's a candlelight vigil at the Bank of America Skating Center tonight at 6:15, and tonight City Hall will be lit up red for the occasion. It's one of several locations in the US and the British Isles that were selected by Bono to be lit up. I'm not sure why Providence was chosen, actually, but I almost always approve of colored lights on public buildings.]
Today marks the 22nd annual World AIDS Day, begun in 1988 to draw attention to what was then a largely mysterious epidemic. The Providence metro area has one of the lowest rates of AIDS in the country, with 6.5 cases reported for every 100,000 people. That’s less than a quarter of the infection rates in cities like Washington, Miami, New Orleans and Baltimore.
After the jump, a (very) quick look at some of the year’s bigger AIDS-related headlines:
On his way to Cameroon in March, the Pope made the announcement that condoms would only make the African AIDS crisis worse. As expected, people actually living on earth were not exactly pleased with his remarks.
This summer a German ad agency caused a big furor when it compared AIDS to Hitler.
Last month, President Obama announced that the US would lift the travel ban on foreign citizens with HIV, a restriction the United States shared with only a dozen other countries. (Colombia’s the only other country in the western hemisphere with the ban.)
Thanks to the lifting of the ban, the US will be able to host the big 2012 international AIDS conference. Maybe by that point the president will score better than a D+ from AIDS activists.
The most horrifying news of the year came out just this week, though, when Uganda announced that it was considering the death penalty for HIV-positive gay men.
(Also, how awesome is Coil’s cover of Tainted Love? Released in 1983, the Panic/Tainted Love single was the first-ever AIDS benefit recording. Marc Almond from Soft Cell makes an appearance in the video, but I’m still kind of amazed by the stylistic leap between this song and the original.)