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Living with chronic pain is no joke. You may look at people without realizing that they are pushing through the pain, discomfort and — at the same time — trying to appear OK. This can be an unpredictable occurrence. A person can feel fine one minute and begin to suffer the next. Some days may be worse than others.

The numbers are staggering. According to the CDC, in 2016, African Americans accounted for 44 percent of all HIV diagnoses, even though they comprise only 12 percent of the U.S. population. More than half (58 percent) of those diagnosed with HIV were gay or bisexual men, and 39 percent of those were aged 25 to 34.

Anyone who knows me knows that I start counting down the minutes until the first day of spring once December starts, and this winter has been especially unkind to those of us who prefer an air temperature above glacier. But going through the milestones to spring, I’m almost ready to start smiling again. Just get The Flower Show started and Daylight Savings Time rebooted and I can glide the rest of the way to 12:15 p.m. March 20. 

The past year saw several attempts to enact policies and legislation that would negatively impact LGBT older adults. Many of these efforts are set to continue in 2018, requiring us to be vigilant against any attempts to deny civil rights, benefits and services that older members of our LGBT communities rely upon.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, most of us are forced to turn our attention to dating, relationships and love. But it’s also a day that plenty of people try to ignore, reject or celebrate only reluctantly. Lots of people question why there is an entire day dedicated to romantic love. Why not a day where we celebrate friendships with the same level of vim and vigor?

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