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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Day 425: Reality of Stigma

A Video Blog

By Aaron Laxton

August 4, 2012

As I prepare to move I think about the fact that stigma is everywhere around me. I recently viewed an apartment and something that went through my mind is "What will happen if people find out I am HIV positive". Have you had to deal with stigma because of HIV/AIDS? If so, what was the situation and how did you deal with it?

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: CG (World) Mon., Sep. 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm UTC
Stigma is nothing exclusive for us HIVers. Walk in the shoes of a black,hispanic,asian,handicapped or someone for whatever reason doesnt reassemble the norm in a specific group and youll might gey some perspective. Ill even stretch to say that stigma concerning HIV is a delicate problem , we can in most situations choose if we want to disclose it or not. My words to you Mark is to get some perspective on your disease and see what many other neg people are struggling with, I dont know where you come from or what youve been through but even thou living with HIV isnt ideal there are people out there living on their knees with nobody and nothing. If your problem is where you should move and what some neighbors might think I can just wish you well in life since you seem ta have things going pretty well for you.
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Comment by: Rick (North Carolina) Sun., Sep. 2, 2012 at 12:50 am UTC
I am living in a small town in North Carolina. The stigma faced here by a person with AIDS is very bad. In certain segements of the community such as churches, the stigma is horrendous. I have heard comments in churches like "people with AIDS deserve it because they are abominations." Many of the people making these statements and hearing them are college-educated people. Many of the churches here have even refused to put AIDS prevention information in their churches.
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Comment by: mark1424 (Bellingham, MA) Thu., Aug. 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm UTC
My name is Mark, & I'm a survivor of 83. I witnessed the worst times of this Virus ( not your recent 400 days )& that alone has probably dictated why I chose to remain living in secret.

I replaced my Avatar's w/ my pic ( HIV sites & Blogs ). The main reason why I'm writing, I guess, is because I know the worst of the worst of this Stigma, & I've always stood behind their Fear of me & ( even more so ), their choice not to be Educated on our issues. I didn't push myself on anyone to this day, but have always wanted to share my story ( especially since my time here is probably limited ). It seems anything above 25 years is uncharted territory for obvious reasons. Your video is admirable, & understandably so, especially to try to inform the World of this danger attached w/ Stigma. It's difficult living w/ HIV, imagine the early 80's.

I just hope that We can penetrate this barrier of Fear to open peoples Hearts & educate the unwilling. I'm worried, but I'm motivated. I've dealt w/ this Stigma w/ an open mind & understanding of why people are the way they are regarding HIV. One thing for sure that I truly believe, is that Fear is breathe taking. When one is in Fear of Me is in Fear for their Lives. We were Lepers in the beginning, & sharing some of those fears from my end of it was totally respected by me ALWAYS. Fright is an unreal feeling, & We have our hands full w/ it to try & change the landscape of Fear of us. Fear of Stigma doesn't even come close to fright. In the past 30 years, you wouldn't believe what I have experienced in my HIV+ life ( 30 years, not 400 some days ). If you want to know what it is really like, talk to people that have been positive over 25 years, not 400 days. instilling the Medical statistics of the research to " normal " people will be the most difficult task. In other words, " please read this so you will not be afraid of me " is f*cking UNREALISTIC! Or please research HIV so u accept me. Cmon man. You just found out what its like
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My HIV Journey

Aaron Laxton

Aaron Laxton

I am simply a guy who on June 6, 2011, received the news that over 33 million people have received: I am HIV positive. I decided in that split moment to record the journey that I was embarking on so that I might help others as they receive that news.

I am not a doctor and I do not endorse any agenda other than simply living a healthy life. I am an activist and advocate and simply want to make the world a better place. I hold a degree in sociology and psychology. I am a product of the Missouri Foster System and this is one of my main passions, second only to the work I do with HIV/AIDS outreach and prevention.

I embrace a sex-positive model. People are going to have sex; it is a natural part of who we are. However we need to make sure that it is safe. I can be found on weekends throughout St. Louis, Missouri, passing out condoms and safe-sex kits.

I am now an M.S.W. student at Saint Louis University's College of Public Health and Social Justice and the School of Social Work.

Whether in St. Louis, D.C. or around the nation, I always jump at the chance to help change not only policies to better serve those that need help but to also change the landscape of the society that we live in.

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