Dr. Wu Honors the Sacrifices of Queer and Gay Men

Eleni Vlachos (intro); Elwin Wu
September 22, 2021

In honor of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on September 27th, our co-Director Dr. Elwin Wu shares his reflections on the significance of the day.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) designated September 27th as National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day to help stop HIV stigma and encourage HIV testing, prevention, and treatment among gay and bisexual men. 

In recognition of the day, SIG's co-Director Dr. Elwin Wu shared his reflections on its significance. In addition to his role at SIG, Dr. Wu is also a professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work (CSSW), the co-Director of the HIV Intervention Science Training Program for Underrepresented New Investigators (HISTP) and has, as a research scientist, been the Principal Investigator (PI) on multiple grants focusing on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

As a research scientist, Dr. Wu realizes that the National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will celebrate the science and academic achievements in addition to their encouragement of HIV treatment and ending stigma. However, he hopes for something more; following are his reflections.

Dr. Wu: Remembering the sacrifices of queer and gay men

I see this day as one of remembrance; to honor the losses and sacrifices--and leadership and victories--of queer and gay men. I want to remember all of the history and reasons that allow me and others to be able to experience this moment today and many more in the future. There has been incredible and unrelenting progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

However, that incredibly unrelenting progress caused me to lose touch with some profound experiences and feelings that were and are shared among many queer and gay men.

So let us indeed celebrate that HIV infection has been rendered as treatable and destigmatized as other "mainstream" chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and depression. And I have been part of the HIV research enterprise, conducting HIV research with queer and gay men at risk for and living with HIV.

I am constantly humbled that some of these men have spent time in the last year(s) of their lives contributing to my research as well as many of my colleagues. That is, so many of the advances in HIV/AIDS have been borne from the commitment and grace of queer and gay men.