HIV stigma has shown up a couple of ways in my life. Some of the more discreet ways have been amongst either friends or people who I've heard casually speaking on the bus. They said they would never date anybody who has HIV, or maybe they used another word for HIV. I think that it communicates a clear message that there's something to fear there, and that people are worth fearing, as well.
When I think about my own testing history: I did outreach as a teenager, but at the time I didn't want to go to a doctor's office to get tested. I didn't want to go to a community-based organization to get tested, because I was afraid that if the people there knew that the person who was giving the message had contracted HIV then it would mean the worst for me. It was definitely a shame-on-me kind of moment. So I remember sneaking to do my own HIV test, and having to do that alone until I could figure out how to get some support.
What does stigma look like in your life? Share your impressions in the comments section below.
Comment by: Shirley Hilda
Thu., May. 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm EDT
When i was diagnosed 2007 and prescribed Atripla which I still take - my infectious disease doctor was not very positive w/me. I have private insurance and she would after every visit suggest I utilize the community health services also she would never take the time to discuss HIV w/me finally the last visit culminated w/me firing her on the spot when she openly suggested in front of other patients and staff that I would be better served at the community health center because I was just like "those people" w/her voice dripping w/obvious disgust. Fortunately her boss was standing there so when I fired her there was no question the reason why. I then utilized my primary Dr. for everything which took months before he informed me that the infectious disease Dr. office acquired a new partner. When I met her she was a miracle and I just bawled my ass off. She is now my Dr. but because of that awful time I am not very comfortable sharing - I am an introvert and already somewhat isolated and I am afraid to be more isolated than ever.
Comment by: Jim S.
(N.E. Texas )
Fri., Aug. 24, 2012 at 1:33 am EDT
I have felt the stigma for 25 years in doctors offices by staff saying we have another one. To doctors and dentist who refused to see me, and mostly by my church, friends. There are no support groups are anything here. Your isolated, persecuted and mostly my children want even bring my grand kids by to see me because they are afraid I will somehow give them something. I've been so depressed, and so angry. Confidentially laws gave me this because I assumed if you tested with someone and paid for their test they would tell you their status. Now it's completely reversed if you don't tell your a felon which I always do tell. My final days on my job were pure hell in 93. I could not believe what my friends I thought were saying about me when I was in a bath stall. Even HEP C does not have the stigma HIV does. Mental issues don't have the stigma. We are not treated like victims we are treated like demons cast from society to live in isolation.
Comment by: geoffrey n.
Mon., Aug. 6, 2012 at 10:55 am EDT
It is those people with HIV that start the game of stima by isolating themselves from other people when they form the so called HIV/AIDS clubs. If we just accept and live as normal human beings, there would be no noise about stigmatisation
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