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Dutch HIV campaign to fight stigma
Aug 4, 2007

Dear Dr. Young,

Dutch guy here again. I don't have a real question but I like to inform you and the readers about a Dutch campaign initiated by HIV positive people. It's up to you to decide whether it's suitable to publish.

So, about the campaign:

The goal of this campaign is to make clear to the Dutch population that the vast majority of hiv positive people in the Netherlands actually don't suffer from HIV but from the stigma surrounding it (a disease of gays or dirty people) and the image some people still have of hiv as it was in the eighties and early nineties (purple blotched men, Freddy Mercury, Philadelphia, Angels in America).

One of the most important things the campaign makers claim is that people with HIV can expect a (very close to) normal life expectancy in good health. So there's (for example) no need for employers to be reluctant for hiring HIV positive employees.

Stating that HIV positive people can expect to have a good, long, happy, productive and healthy life has to contribute that more poeple will will get tested. The philosophy behind 'telling people the nowadays reality of hiv so they will get tested' is that when more people know their status the infection rates will be reduced in general. They also gave some figures: Officially 13,000 people are registered as HIV positive in our country. However the estimation is that about 23,000 are positive (In general the Dutch are reluctant in getting tested). In 2006 47 people died of HIV related illness.

Besides this they also made very clear that nowadays in our country people can get a life insurance with a very reasonable premium (even for big amounts).

Last but not least they made very clear that OF COURSE HIV must be prevented because it doesn't make life easier.

Well I don't know if you can agree with what these campaign makers say. But if you do, I hope I can give the readers here on this fantastic and helpful website some encouragement by sharing this information.

greetings from Holland Dutch Guy

Response from Dr. Young

Dear DG,

Happy to post your thoughts.

Best of health, BY



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