While HIV today can be well treated with medications to an almost undetectable levels, the stigma, negative attitudes and beliefs about people with HIV have not changed with the same rapid improvement.
The CDC states that HIV stigma is the prejudice that comes with labeling an individual as part of a group that is believed to be socially unacceptable. Their examples of HIV stigma include:
- Believing that only certain groups of people can acquire HIV
- Making moral judgments about people who take steps to prevent HIV transmission
- Feeling that people deserve to acquire HIV because of their choices
Those types of examples are discriminatory conduct – and destructive to all involved including the person who thinks them.
People with an HIV diagnosis will live easier, happier and healthier lives when they feel supported. To strengthen the support and end the stigma, the CDC and other agencies have started various campaigns.
The CDC’s campaign to end the stigma with HIV includes “pledge cards.” You can download your pledge card at: https://www.cdc.gov/stophivtogether/hiv-stigma/educate-others.html
These pledge cards can be posted on social media, or at your place of business, or any other place that you feel will help end the stigma against HIV.
Social media posts to stop the stigma includes these suggested statements:
- Small gestures go a long way to help end HIV stigma. A handshake or hug can say “you matter, not your HIV status.” #StopHIVStigma
- An HIV stigma-free future for everyone can begin with family. When is the last time you have talked about HIV at home? #StopHIVTogether
- A welcoming community can make such a difference for someone with HIV. What are ways we can all build support today? #StopHIVStigma
- I am planning to get tested for HIV soon. When is the last time you got tested, and what was your experience like? #StopHIVTogether
Using the hashtag #StopHIVTogether is suggested to will help spread HIV awareness that this is a community effort. Anyone with an HIV diagnosis should not feel like they have to endure their disease alone. Adding social media posts and making public pledges to stop HIV together is one of many ways utilized to stop the stigma of HIV and AIDS.
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