Each year on the 1st of December I dedicate a page to World Aids Day.
Some of you may have read the first piece back in 2013 about the friend I lost, the hurt it caused, and my personal experience with the pain this disease causes.
This year World Aids Day is about stigma, fighting the lies, abuse and falsehoods projected on to people who have HIV/AIDs. The stigma is huge, people don’t like to touch people with HIV, they think any contact is enough to contract it. They treat people with HIV/AIDs with contempt, and unclean lower echelon of society.
They may have an illness but they are PEOPLE, PEOPLE FIRST, MIDDLE & LAST. The stigma needs to end. We all need to examine our attitude. Even if you are vile enough to hate someone for having an illness you are perpetuating the problem.
At a base level if there is stigma then the risk of infection is higher, we need people to feel they can get tested, we need to be able to have the conversation about protection, we need to be able to talk about PReP’s, we need to talk about mother to child infection, we need governments to invest in education, healthcare and awareness, and we need to treat people with humanity, love and compassion.
Stigma blocks all those conversations, it isolates people in need, and it dehumanises people in a disgusting way.
Next time you feel any revulsion, hate or go to use any connected words as an insult, stop, think, act.
Together we can end stigma, and if we tackle stigma, we can get on with the really important job of saving lives and beating this shitty, nasty , crappy vile virus.