Changing the Narrative of AIDS & Stigma
With 37.7 million people living with HIV globally it’s time to abandon our misinformed stigmas.
First, what’s the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus
AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
There are a few ways to become infected with HIV, vertical transmission meaning it can be passed from parent to child. HIV transmission also comes from exposure to body fluids (Blood, Semen and Vaginal Fluids) of an individual living with HIV. This exchanging of fluids which happens through sexual acts, or other risk-taking situations. However, there are ways to protect yourself; condoms are not 100%, but improve your rates of protection and of course PrEP, which we have spoken about in a previous blog post.
Now AIDS is a result of a progression of the HIV virus, you cannot contract AIDS. You can contract HIV, which can progress to AIDS. Nowadays, having HIV is no longer something to be feared, modern medicine has created very easy solutions to maintaining one’s viral load and can make rates of HIV in the body so low that chances of transmission of the virus are almost none. Antivirals with the combination of barrier methods allow anyone living with HIV or AIDS to have safe sex with a partner.
What’s the real harm with HIV/AIDS?
If modern medicine has created all these incredible solutions for the life of someone with HIV or AIDS, then what actually makes this virus so dangerous? Easy, stigma! Stigma of HIV/AIDS creates potential physical and mental harm for any individual living HIV positive. Fear and stigma generate acts of hate and all over a perceived threat. Individuals living with HIV or AIDS are NOT a threat to anyone. They are human beings like anyone else, individuals who under various circumstances lead them to this virus, and it is our duty as a society to educate ourselves and empower the HIV/AIDS community.
Celebrating World AIDS Day
With December 1st around the corner, we at Sex School ask you to take the day to donate time, effort or financially to organizations who are directly impacting the lives of individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Fighting stigma is our best chance at improving the lives of those 37.7 million people across the globe. Here are some great organizations to support:
World AIDS Day – Un AIDS. org – Black AIDS