Obviously I don't experience stigma the way a lot of other people do, because I'm not HIV positive. But I see what kinds of effects it has on people. Even within the Asian and Pacific Islander community, we don't necessarily talk a lot about these issues -- even in my own family. Something as simple as safe sex: It doesn't really happen.
I actually emailed my family members, when I first got into this field, and I said, "Go get tested." No response. Silence. I actually had that feeling of being ostracized. I was, like, "What is going on? What are they thinking? Am I going to be able to talk to these people again?" They talked to me, but never about what I said. So it's been very difficult just trying to break that barrier, even within my own family. Because I'm a firm believer of, it starts in the family; it starts in the community; it starts with your circle of friends. And then you branch out.