Learn how you can stand up to HIV discrimination.
Understanding HIV stigma is extremely important. When we better understand HIV stigma, we can make a difference for those who are living an HIV positive life by addressing and preventing it.
HIV stigma includes any kind of negative attitude, belief or stereotype about those who are living with HIV. But it doesn’t stop there: it can even affect those who aren’t living with HIV or don’t yet know their HIV status by making them feel like there is something wrong with getting tested for HIV.
These harmful stigmas can especially have a negative impact on the health and well-being of those who test positive for HIV by shaming or discouraging them from seeking treatment or learning more about their diagnosis.
All in all, HIV stigma is a form of discrimination that impacts all people. Luckily, there are ways YOU can get involved to stop it.
Regardless of your status, talking openly about HIV with your friends, family and community can help to normalize it. The more you discuss HIV, the less scary or shameful it becomes. Talking about HIV can also help those who are living with it feel more accepted and confident to voice their stories and seek treatment.
Another part of talking about HIV stigma is speaking up against it when you hear it. You can kindly let others know when they’re speaking negatively about HIV, or even share information with them about HIV that they may not have known to help them understand the weight of their words.
When talking about HIV, the words you choose matter – you may be feeding into HIV stigma without knowing it. Check out this guide to better understand what language may stigmatize HIV.
As it turns out, the most common HIV-related stigma is fear: Those living with HIV fear being discriminated against, and those who don’t have HIV are fearful they will be infected.
Along with talking about HIV stigma, educating yourself and others about it is a powerful way to break down this fear. Through education and factual information, together we can prevent the spread of HIV misinformation.
Share Your Story
While it’s important to talk about HIV and stay educated, this may not be enough to get some people to understand HIV stigma or get tested to know their status. For some, making a personal connection with another person by hearing their own story about HIV may be what it takes to get through to them.
Thanks to social media and other modern platforms, it’s easier than ever for people to connect on this level and make their voices heard. Using social media platforms or local community happenings can be a great way to meet others and share information about HIV.
Engage with the HIV community and show support by attending local events or donating to HIV cause-related organizations. If you don’t feel comfortable attending events, start small and empower your friends or family that might be living with HIV.
An HIV diagnosis can be challenging to the person that received it and to family and friends, but it takes a community to show that we all stand up to HIV-related stigmas.
Join the fight and show your support! Learn more at TakeControlHIV.com.