New year realness

What’s your biggest hope for 2021?

That’s the question we asked our followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They served up some honest feelings and experiences

“I am hoping for normalcy after this troubled year. No more, no less. Just normalcy.”

—Marcelo F. Levy

“My hope for 2021 is that there will be a bit of joy, happiness, and health. I hope that we experience a little bit of togetherness and unity.”

—Mark L. Grantham

“I hope COVID-19 vaccines are available sooner rather than later, with little to no side effects to anyone with a compromised immune system; i.e. the HIV positive population.”

—Josué E. Hernández

“More awareness of the risk and spread of HIV through drug use. Drug use is rapidly increasing as is overdose deaths due to the pandemic. Having HIV increases a person’s chance of overdosing and dying by 71%. Yet despite this, people who die from an overdose are not tested for HIV, even though it could be an underlying or partial cause of death.”

—Rena Humbert

“My hope is for life to get back to some semblance of normal. Being able to see my doctor in person; going to hospital because I may be having a heart attack; and not catching COVID while being hospitalized. Seeing friends in person and being able to share a HUG.”

—Xio Mora-Lopez

“My biggest hope, as a 38-year survivor, is that this horrible pandemic will have taught everyone that stigma is the wrong reaction to any disease. For too many years, I walked around feeling like an unclean leper.”

—Keith B. Dole

“My biggest hope for the New Year is that people will take COVID-19 seriously. We ‘live with’ HIV at this point, but a disease that attacks the upper respiratory system is particularly dangerous for folks with a disease in which pneumonia often is what takes lives. Today, that is my number one priority! Once that is addressed, [my second hope is for] awareness of what it is like to live with HIV on meds, so that younger folks who seem to think ‘it’s no big deal’ because it’s just a pill a day don’t get an idea that there are no side effects, physical and mental, that we have to deal with.”

—Brandon Wigglesworth

“I’m really looking forward to life returning to a semblance of normalcy. I honestly can’t wait. The past year was rough. And we’ve got a ways to go yet before it starts getting better.”

—Jeffery Parks

“In regards to life with HIV/AIDS, I hope that there will be continued strides made in treatments that will allow those of us living with the virus to have a better quality of life, especially for long-term survivors like myself, a 30+ year survivor. For the general population, I hope that the COVID pandemic will finally slow its pace of sickness and death, as the vaccine(s) do their job, and that we as humans will do our part, by continuing to wear masks, social distancing, and other measures, so that life might return to a more normal one. Sometimes we just have to live, using the opportunities given to us each day, and moving through and beyond the perceived obstacles we encounter along the way.

“Hope, as they say, is planting daffodils in the autumn, so that one might reap the benefits come spring.”

—Harold Scott

Additional responses

My hope for any year is that long-term survivors continue to seek creative and effective ways to band together, for both support and visibility. There is strength in numbers. Unfortunately, many of us are dealing with medical issues, getting older, or just plain burned out. So, we need to engage the help of our allies. Allies are so important.

In not too many years, those of us living with the virus since the ’80s and early ’90s will not be here anymore.

If we want our story to remain, we must find ways to keep the story going through our allies, and through our artistic and creative contributions.

The friends we lost, and our own struggles, must not be forgotten.— Bruce Ward

My hope for 2021 is for everyone to take responsibility for oneself, not be selfish about your own health status and stand side by side fighting and helping each other overcome Covid. We need to support each other in what endeavor we are participating in and become stronger together.—Gary Allpass

looking forward to the start of the Fast Track Cities program getting up and running next year. It had begun being rolled out at the start of this year and then covid hit, but really looking forward to being a member of the steering group for my city—Will Kennedy

As a Testing volunteer in my community... I hope that we can go back to our free HIV walk in Testing nights.—Erin Shafer Fulton