“I wouldn’t want anything to do with an ugly pile of HIV like you.” “Sluts like you deserve it.” “You’re a walking disease.”
Those are some of the hurtful messages sent by Grindr users to HIV-positive men. They were read out by men living with HIV in this poignant video created by GMFA, a UK-based charity dedicated to HIV awareness.
“We wanted honest, instant reactions to the kind of stigma -- and sometimes abuse -- HIV-positive men can face on the gay dating scene,” the organization told Buzzfeed. “Their responses were funny, direct, and showed how HIV stigma can make them feel and how it should be dealt with.”
The video was created as part of GMFA’s campaign for World Aids Day, which is commemorated on December 1. The charity's new campaign is meant to address the continued stigma that surrounds HIV.
“The medical treatment for HIV has had a dramatic impact on the health and life expectancy of those of us who are living with HIV. Unfortunately, the progress we’ve made in tackling the stigma associated with an HIV positive diagnosis has not been as fast,” GMFA CEO Matthew Hodson said in a blog post. “The all too visible stigmatization of people living with HIV discourages people from testing, or talking honestly about HIV, their risk and their testing history. In a very real sense, stigma helps to perpetuate HIV.”
More than 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV, but more than one in eight of them don’t know they have the disease. Researchers have long pointed to stigma as a reason why many people don't get tested.
Though there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, new medications are helping many people with the disease live longer, healthier lives. Studies have shown that people living with HIV can achieve “undetectability” after undergoing antiretroviral therapy.
Learn more about HIV/AIDS at the website of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research; and click here to read about what “undetectability” really means.
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