It's World AIDS Day.
And we remember.
We remember the 25 million people who have died of AIDS since the epidemic began.
We remember that there are more than 33 million people in the world who are living with HIV now.
We remember that each year, nearly 3 million people are newly infected with HIV in the world.
We remember that almost every one of those new cases could have been been prevented.
We remember that the United States took too long to respond to the epidemic, and that U.S. policies privileging abstinence over condoms and safer sex education still put people around the world at risk.
I remember my friends and colleagues who died way too young -- Bill, Danny, Billy, Stuart, Lacey, Marjorie, Damien, Michael. You have your list too.
And we remember those who insisted on a sane, compassionate, realistic response to the epidemic: to my brave colleagues in Act Up, local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, the WHO. Those who continue to work to make sure we do not forget and we do not give up working for prevention and services for people living with AIDS and adequate medications and education for everyone.
We remember -- with love and a conviction that there is still so much more work we must do.
Rev. Debra W. Haffner is executive director of the Religious Institute in Westport, CT. The Religious Institute is a national, multifaith organization dedicated to promoting sexual health and sexual justice in religious communities and society at large. Among its...