It’s a weird feeling to know that I’m writing my last blog post. But here we are. As announced, PositiveLite.com is ceasing publication, having first gone “viral” December 1st, 2009.
It was the first time we people living with HIV had an online forum to bring Canadians, and beyond, together. I hoped that we could better connect between the different regions and foster a sense of community.
As we close this chapter I want to thank and say how proud I am of those who took the reins of this site to make it last seven years longer. People do not understand how this site takes over one’s entire life. The work is endless while there is little to no funding.
John McCullagh and Bob Leahy (who was with us from the beginning) kept this site alive when I needed to leave. I personally was burned out. Decades of involvement in HIV advocacy meant I needed a change. When this happened I was ready to shut the site down when both John and Bob stepped up and offered to take it over and keep it running.
The contributors made the site. Each individual gave not only his or her time, but shared their life to unknown people on the internet. I know each and everyone one of you have touched someone out there. There are people living with HIV who no longer feel alone because of you. This is the greatest gift of all. Your time and effort does not go by unnoticed and I thank you so much for being part of us.
I’m so proud of the work they have done. PL became the community media, winning many awards over majorly funded organizations.
The landscape has greatly changed since 2009. The discussions were largely focused on when to treat. Treatment as prevention was on the landscape but a little controversial in some circles of treatment advocacy. Now we treat right away and know with undetectable status we cannot transmit the virus to anyone else. The criminalization of HIV in Canada is slowly moving in the right direction. We have PrEP for those who are negative. Now negative men can take ownership in their role of prevention. Like Plan B or the morning after pill, PEP is widely available for possible post exposure.
It’s not often we see individuals having a vision and seeing it through on their own without attaching themselves to an organization. Bruce Richman stands out by independently creating the successful U = U campaign (undetectable equals untransmittable).
Michael Fanous, an ally, has worked hard on PreP education and advocacy for approval and coverage in Ontario.
We need more of this non-business entrepreneurial spirit.
For me this is a sad moment. PL’s voice is going to be greatly missed. There will be a huge gap out there.
The next generation has to keep our independent voice alive and heard. You are out there.
The fights also continue requiring continuing activism.
The federal government cut the Canadian AIDS Society’s funding for their annual forum for people living with HIV, resulting in the forum’s cancellation for the first time in over twenty years. The possibility of Doug Ford as premier of Ontario is frightening. What all this says is that there is still more work to do.
Once again, a huge thank you to sponsoring and collaborating organizations, the readers, the contributors, and to Bob, Rob and Wayne. It’s been a great run, and I look forward to seeing how the future shapes up.