Dear HIV: Notes to the epidemic

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As part of a pop-up art show featuring amazing photographs from a PhotoVoice project hosted by the Family HIV Clinic and Positive Reproductive Outcomes for HIV+ Men, we also created a public art piece of notes to the HIV epidemic, “Dear HIV”. The note templates served as a prompt to consider, What have you lost? What have you gained? This note writing event was inspired by my friend and colleague who celebrates 30 years of working in the HIV world this year by attending a retreat and participating in the AIDS LifeCycle. During her retreat they wrote letters to the epidemic and upon hearing her experience, I was immediately struck by an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my experiences with HIV. I was reminded of many patients who also credit HIV with saving their life. I was reminded of seeing the AIDS Quilt laid out across The Mall in Washington DC during the 2012 International AIDS Conference, a sobering reminder of the tremendous and ongoing loss. Honoring the space where we thrive & love with HIV, writing notes to the epidemic, opening our hearts – together we usher in a new phase with art, community, and a new lexicon full of possibility. #HIVLoveWins

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