Category Archives: Stigma

Post a selfie for HIV anti-stigma campaign

From plus online…

The campaign captures 24 hours in the lives of people affected by HIV stigma, which impacts everyone regardless of age, race, or status. The social media-driven campaign, now in its tenth year, is an opportunity for people to share a moment of their day and tell their story, while breaking down the barriers that stigma creates and raising awareness about HIV, as stated in a press release.

“Stigma can isolate and scare people,” said Positively Aware art director Rick Guasco, who created the campaign. “It can also prevent people from accessing care and treatment. A Day with HIV brings people together; it shows that we’re all affected by stigma, and that people living with HIV are just like everyone else.”

We encourage you to take a picture and post it to your social media with the hashtag #ADayWithHIV and include a caption that gives the time, location, and what inspired you to take the photo.

Images can also be uploaded to ADayWithHIV.com, where they will be considered for publication in a special section of the November/December issue of Positively Aware.

Check out some of last year’s photos

Why we can never stop fighting HIV

By Diane Anderson-Minshall

From hivplusmag.com

We all know that HIV is no longer a death sentence, but to deny that some people still experience it that way — due to fear, stigma, history, and lack of access — is to miss what happens to young Black men today. The ability to get and stay on treatment, to get to undetectable within weeks, to never transmit the virus and live a normal, healthy life isn’t something you can take for granted if you are a working class person of color in the U.S., much less in a different country (read our feature on HIV-positive asylum seekers from Africa on page 32). If you’re a working class, Black or brown woman with HIV, you know this well too: you may dream of affording the “self-care” everyone recommends for you (massages, acupuncture, vacation) but struggle to pay the rent and buy the kids’ school lunches, much less fork over $50 to feel good for an afternoon.


Diane Anderson-Minshall

I’m relieved that my friends who lived are now healthy long-term survivors. I’m thrilled that PrEP uptake has risen almost 500 percent, scientists now universally agree that treatment can make you undetectable (and unable to transmit the virus), and that new research has us closer than ever to a vaccine and a functional cure.

But let’s not forget that while most people today won’t ever see their diagnosis devolve into stage three HIV (formerly known as AIDS), some untreated folks will. Without treatment, AIDS can progress  quickly, much like it did in those early years.

Read the full article.

One woman’s journey to overcome HIV stigma

From Avert.org

Since my diagnosis in 1997, I had lived with fear. Fear of people knowing I was living with HIV. I had never witnessed anyone being mistreated because of their HIV diagnosis, but I still developed this fear I didn’t know where it came from. That’s how powerful stigma is! Society tells you to hide away in shame and disgrace. What am I ashamed of? I’ve asked myself this question many times. After all, I didn’t get HIV because I did something wrong. I didn’t ask for it, neither did I deserve it.

Thobe Bandama has been living with HIV for the last 20 years

It’s taken a lot of courage for me to come out and speak about living with HIV. Although I’ve always been open with the professionals that support me, only in the last year or so have I dared to disclose my status to strangers, albeit those interested in HIV care, treatment and prevention.

I am a person who has been angered by injustice around the world, but I’ve always felt like I didn’t have the power to do anything about it. It saddens me that we have been talking about HIV stigma for decades now, but we have still to reach a place where people living with HIV do not feel judged or ostracised. Well, I have decided that I will contribute my bit to the campaign to end HIV stigma by coming out and speaking more openly about my experiences of living with the condition.

This is my contribution to a cause that has been championed by many well-known people including Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex. I was privileged to work with Avert and Shamal on a video, sharing our experiences of being diagnosed with HIV. Just maybe, the voices of people with ‘lived experience’ will resonate more with everyone. Reading other people’s stories helped me to come to terms with my diagnosis, and I hope our video will help others too!

Read the full article and watch the interview.

“Together for Love: Stop HIV Stigma” event March 9

From Educating Teens About HIV and AIDS

About one in four people living with HIV in the United States are women and girls 13 and older.  Only about half of women living with HIV are getting care, and only four in 10 of them have the virus under control. Women face unique HIV risks and challenges that can prevent them from getting needed care and treatment.  Addressing these issues remains critical to achieving an HIV and AIDS-free generation.  This year we are making a special effort to ask Churches and Houses of Worships to join our effort.

On March 9, 2019, Educating Teens about HIV/AIDS Inc. will observe National Women and Girls HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day to bring attention to this important public health issue.   The purpose of the observance is to raise awareness of the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls. The 2019 theme isTogether for Love: Stop HIV Stigma.

Educating Teens’ Mother-Daughter Circle and Friends, invite you and your friends’ participation to help call attention to the impact of HIV on women and girls. This event will be held at the University Club; 123 University Place; Pittsburgh, PA 15213; 11:30 AM.  Please see the attached documents and respond by February 28, 2019.

Download the registration form for the Mother-Daughter Circle or call 412-973-9524 for more information.

It’s not just HIV stigma – sexism, racism and poverty stigma commonly reported by women living with HIV in the United States

From aidsmap.com

Women living with HIV perceive many forms of stigma in addition to HIV-related stigma, according to a qualitative study published in the July edition of Social Science & Medicine. Stigma related to living with HIV intersected with stigma associated with gender, race, poverty, incarceration and obesity, according to the interviewees.

“Our findings highlight the complexity of social processes of marginalization, which profoundly shape life experiences, opportunities, and healthcare access and uptake among women living with HIV,” say Whitney Rice and colleagues.

They conducted semi-structured interviews with 76 women living with HIV in Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Atlanta, Georgia; and San Francisco, California. The interviewees were invited to describe their experiences of stigma and discrimination, whether in relation to their HIV status or another aspect of their identity.

The majority of interviewees were black (61%), heterosexual (83%), had children (68%) and had a monthly income of less than $1000 (57%).

Most participants were conscious of men having greater power than women. Women said they were undervalued in educational and employment contexts due to their gender. In interpersonal relationships, men would frequently disregard women’s needs and preferences, while parents would typically favour sons over daughters.

Women were also conscious of being subject to different expectations concerning sexual behaviour than men. Stigmas related to gender and HIV intersect, as this interviewee explained:

“It’s not so bad for [men] to have many sex partners but it’s horrible for a woman to have that many… And she’s a whore and all the other words… But it’s OK for him. That existed before HIV and it’s still in play now… Some dirty woman gave him [HIV] … and they’re the bad person —and then the women … you got it because you was sleeping around.”

Read the full article.

Heroic in the face of stigma

From the San Francisco Examiner

Mike Shriver has been living with HIV for 32 years. His diagnosis has survived five mayoral administrations, two high-pressure years doing AIDS prevention and policy work in Washington, D.C., and death threats from haters. His physical and mental health have taken a toll, and his faith has been tested.

But he’s doing just fine.

“I really am the luckiest man alive,” he said. “I’m very privileged and I know it and I don’t ever forget how lucky I am.”

Mike Shriver leans against the National AIDS Memorial Grove’s large memorial boulder in Golden Gate Park (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

When Shriver began advocating for AIDS treatment in the 1990s, at the epidemic’s peak, one in 25 San Franciscans were said to have HIV and one in 50 had an AIDS diagnosis. Comparatively, HIV infections and deaths in The City today are at their lowest rate in decades, thanks to advancements in treatment and prevention and the work of Shriver and his cohorts fighting for funding and a cure.

After a sabbatical to tend to his own health issues, including diabetes and Hepatitis C, Shriver has returned to advocacy — as co-chair of the city and county’s HIV Community Planning Council and as a steering committee member of Getting To Zero SF, working to reduce HIV transmission and deaths by 2020. His hiatus helped him achieve a new level of physical wellness and a deeper awareness of what personal balance and recovery from grief and trauma look like.

“I’m no longer so self-destructive,” he said, referring to his former lifestyle that put community work first and his own health second. “Workaholism is the most socially acceptable and rewarded addiction.”

Read the full article.