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Author Topic: Stigma and HIV ..my three cents  (Read 1393 times)

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Offline DiggerDive

  • Member
  • Posts: 14
Stigma and HIV ..my three cents
« on: January 30, 2011, 02:51:17 PM »
After reading responses to a positive story about Post Exposure Prophylaxis Treatment in a blog I am at my end of patience and feel the need to write specifically to the issue of stigma and HIV, -and offer my heartfelt advice. I have worked in public health for 16 years primarily in disease prevention for 12 years. I have dual degrees in psychology (developmental and research) and am working toward an MPH.

The stigma aligned with HIV creates fear, which leads to irrational thought and behaviors. It frequently leads to a false sense of security, i.e. when someone checks off “negative” in their Adam4Adam profile. There is no way of knowing for certain. In fact your more likely to take greater risks with someone that claims they are negative.

It’s time to start being sensible about HIV/STD prevention, and ALL diseases for that matter. Disease doesn’t care what you think about people that have unsafe sex. Disease doesn’t care about your religion. Disease doesn’t care about the pigment of your skin. Only humans care to judge. And all the finger pointing, judging and preaching does is separates us, leaving some valued and others damaged.

Disease simply exploits our “virtues”, like water running into chasms finding its way into ever fissure we make.
The fact that HIV is tied to sexual behavior makes people go absolutely crazy. And especially within our own “family” we start to blame one another, judge, and find someone to shame. It is summed up in the ubiquitous and popular rants that start with, “How did it happen today?” “How did it happen to you?” “Didn’t you read?” “Didn’t you know?”  ….

Stop it.

• Stop freaking out. When an HIV positive individual takes their meds as prescribed, has undetectable viral loads, and no other STDs the risk of transmission is low, some reputable studies suggest it can’t even happen, regardless HIV doctor’s have told me it’s very low.
• Be a skeptic. Don’t accept that just because someone says they’re negative or free of STDs, they are. In fact, they may not even know they’ve contracted a disease. The early stages of any disease are often the most contagious. This “negative” belief idea can prove more dangerous than being with someone who is positive and healthy.
• More people will get HIV (and other diseases) and the meds are not the end of the world. Most the medicines are tolerated quite well. The side effects are diminishing and new meds are promising better results with even less problems. Hope abounds.
• Some don’t like and won’t use condoms. Accept it. Some people are risk takers by nature. You worry about you, and let others worry about themselves. Stop judging Judy. She wouldn’t judge you.
• Use condoms if you can. Know how to use them. There are other things to worry about besides just HIV.
• Love thyself. Do your best to stay healthy in all respects. What would you tell the person you love most in the world if they came to you with your question.
• Love others. Protect them from stigma. Protect them from fear. Protect them from disease and try to be a role model.
• If you’re negative you can love and have sex with someone that is positive without fear.
• If you’re positive you can love and have sex with someone that is negative without fear.
• If you really want to stop HIV, in particular, stop stigmatizing people with the disease. Don’t preach before you listen, and be prepared to listen, and most importantly check yourself if you think you’re better than someone because of your status.

Offline kellybryana

  • Member
  • Posts: 96
Re: Stigma and HIV ..my three cents
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2011, 04:17:15 PM »
amen

 


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