Phill Wilson, Black AIDS Institute, Los Angeles; Diagnosed in 1985
I'm really lucky, in many ways, in that I have a family, and I have the love and support of my family and friends. And they have been supportive from the very, very beginning. I have access to health care, and what have you. From my lens, HIV stigma looks like the calls that we get at the Black AIDS Institute, you know, in the day and the night. It's the calls we get from young people who just found out that they're HIV positive. And they either didn't know how to protect themselves, or they didn't think their lives were worth protecting.
They're often more afraid of the stigma than they are of the disease. It's the calls we get from mothers who are still reeling from the grief and the guilt of having lost a child to HIV, who they discarded -- who they put out, for various reasons. So that's what stigma looks like in my world. It's the fact that people still don't have the information that they need, and are still suffering from misinformation and misconception about HIV because the stigma prevents them from getting information that's readily available.