“Ignorance = Fear, Silence = Death”Keith Haring (1958-1990)
Started on December 1st 1988, World AIDS Day is recognized around the globe as a day to take action, fight prejudice, and raise awareness about the fight against AIDS. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. In 2019, 36,801 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States. Around 41% or 15,000 of these new diagnosis are people who are under 30. Today, HIV continues to be a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world. Right here in Hawai’i, there are an estimated 3,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.
Watch World AIDS Day Honolulu 2022
Heather Lusk, Executive Director of HHHRC, Named 2022 Suzanne Richmond-Crum Awardee
The Hawai῾i State Department of Health announced earlier this week that this year’s recipient of the Suzanne Richmond-Crum Award is Heather Lusk, Executive Director of Hawaiʻi Health & Harm Reduction Center. The award was established in 2004 in honor of the late director of the state’s Seropositivity and Medical Management program. Lusk oversaw the 2018 merger of Life Foundation, the stateʻs oldest and largest AIDS services organization, with The CHOW Project, which administered Hawaiʻi’s statewide syringe access program for over two decades.
Lusk began her work around HIV prevention in San Francisco in the 1990’s prior to the availability of antiretroviral medication that keeps those living with HIV from life-threating illnesses related to the virus. “I still hold those I knew during that period of time who lost their lives very close to my heart, and their memory informs the course of my life’s work to this day. Today is an opportunity to remember those we’ve lost, support those in our community who are living with HIV and at risk of contracting HIV and rededicate ourselves to moving toward a world without HIV,” she said.
“I am deeply honored to work with a dedicated staff who tirelessly provide care services to people living with HIV on Oʻahu and prevent HIV through syringe access services. Many of those we serve stand at the intersection of poverty, substance use, mental health conditions, homelessness, histories of trauma, and criminal legal system involvement. Policymakers should understand that public health approaches prioritizing meaningful access to needed care, housing, and social services will improve health outcomes, unlike the maintenance of structural barriers to services and the continued criminalization of poverty and behavioral health issues,” Lusk added.