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SILENCE = STIGMA

HIV today is not like it was yesterday. Despite this, much stigma and many prejudices about HIV persist. We want to change that...

HIV Yesterday and Today

In the 1980s, when HIV was first discovered, gay men and transgender persons were severely affected. Society’s prejudices and discrimination were amplified by the fear and ignorance surrounding HIV. Many associated HIV with a death sentence, and there were few treatment options available. Misconceptions about how the virus was spread led to even stronger stigmatization of gay men and transgender people, creating an atmosphere of shame and isolation.

Today, we have made significant advances in HIV research and treatment. Modern medicine allows people living with HIV to live long and healthy lives. Antiretroviral drugs can reduce the viral load in the blood to undetectable levels, meaning that HIV cannot be transmitted through sex.

Despite these advances, much stigma and prejudice remain, especially against gay men and transgender persons living with HIV. Ignorance and misconceptions about HIV and quality of life continue to lead to discrimination and social isolation for many within our community.

What Can We Do?

To combat stigma and prejudice surrounding HIV, we need to spread knowledge, understanding, and treat each other kindly. Here are some steps we can all take:

Education: Educate yourself and others about HIV – how it is spread, how it is treated, and how it is not spread. A good starting point is to read our text about HIV:

HIV/AIDS

Openness: Talk openly about HIV and show support for people living with HIV. By being open and supportive, we can break the silence and reduce the shame.

Empathy: Treat everyone with respect and empathy. Understand that HIV can affect anyone and that it does not define a person’s worth or identity.

Actively Oppose Discrimination: If you see or hear about someone being discriminated against because of HIV, speak up. Support policies and organizations that protect the rights of people living with HIV.

By working together, we can create a society where no one, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has to feel stigmatized or discriminated against because of HIV. Together, we can stop HIV stigma and create a more inclusive and understanding world.

What do you know about HIV?

Do the quiz!

END HIV STIGMA

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