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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
Kai Chandler Lois Crenshaw Gary Paul Wright Fortunata Kasege Keith Green Lois Bates Greg Braxton Vanessa Austin Bernard Jackson

What Does HIV Stigma Look Like in the U.S. South?

March 14, 2014

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Antwan Nicholson

Antwan Nicholson

My Brother's Keeper, Inc., Jackson, Miss.

My main thing that I probably see is lack of knowledge. And by the community having that lack of knowledge, or being afraid of HIV, they kinda say things where they've picked up on missed facts and things like that -- and they run with those myths and missing facts, so that sort of adds to the stigma and adds to the problem. So if we can get rid of the overall myths and misinformation and give them the proper information -- give them the knowledge, being in the know, is one of the things that I think can help move past the stigma. Probably won't even get rid of the stigma, because it is what it is. But we want to keep pushing and keep fighting in hopes to cover as much ground as we can to get rid of it.





This article was provided by TheBody.com.

See Also
African-American HIV/AIDS Resource Center: Newsroom


Reader Comments:

Comment by: Ellis Colleton (Brooklyn, NY) Wed., Sep. 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm EDT
Cedric Sturdevant is absolutely correct about us first starting to talk about sex. I have watched a few videos on YouTube -"testimonials" I'll call them. I commented on one saying that my family never talked about sex. I have 13 aunts and uncles on one side of my family and about 9 on the other side of my family and I never once remembered a conversation in my youth about sex from one person. It was as if sex was a secret...they somehow wanted us to think that the stork just dropped babies into our lives and flew off. There is a lot shame when it comes to HIV, but there is also a lot of generational shame that stems from people being comfortable in their own skin. The church and society can make ones own perception of who they are to be tucked aside because we don't want to offend traditional norms -or be ostracized. Since my diagnosis with HIV a few years ago I have been haunted by my past experiences so much so that I felt the only way to truly live a better quality of life is to release the shame. I created a YouTube channel and I will discuss several topics stemming from my childhood and adult life, including my experience with HIV. My aspirations for the future are unlimited. Feel free to join me as I post new videos on or before September 8th, 2014. -Ellis
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Comment by: TidalFlowHealth on Twitter (Virginia) Wed., Aug. 6, 2014 at 8:09 am EDT
As Antwan and Cedric noted, so much of the stigma comes from lack of education about the facts. "AIDS in the Endzone" is a graphic novel that educates teens about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. It was written by South Carolina Juveniles in detention. The young authors created the characters, plot and dialogue that they believed speak most impactfully to teen audiences. Schools embrace the book for their health curriculum. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1611174244/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_UMhJtb0CYQKMKSE8
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Comment by: Vani Dulaki (Fiji) Tue., Apr. 1, 2014 at 5:36 pm EDT
What do you understand by self stigma and how can this be addressed amongst people living with HIV?
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Comment by: Robert James (Portland Oregon) Tue., Mar. 25, 2014 at 6:26 am EDT
I lived in the south, east, north, and now west, no one else is getting better, louder, information of the leaps and bounds our medical professionals have made in the past 20 years. Medications to allow us to survive are today, a realistic expectation. Try to research HIV that subject alone, is when you see the "stigma", or the "poor thing you",which is more fear than anything else.
Several of the folks who have taken the time to comment are right there on the edge. Mostly it is education or the lack of. I will say though that the Tom Hanks movie "Philadelphia" yes, it was a movie, but that was all I knew, outside of, if you were Majic Johnson, and if you could afford it, or travel to some third world country for medications not yet approved by our FDA, you were pretty much on borrowed time.
Personally I was scared to the bone, what happens next? how long do I have to live? Frantic as I got the news on a Friday late afternoon and knew of no one to speak to, the clinic was closed.
We need "HollyWood" to get involved, do a new movie. Speak the new truth, hope is real, and survival? it is no longer a direct death sentence.
I believe the fear, media, homophobes, and those spewing laws, even religious leaders, are not sure what telling the world it is survivable would mean. The preconceived notion that all drug users, or homosexuals are preditors, or evil doers.
I am one of the mind that those old beliefs are outdated and just plain false. The flip side, without an educational/informational sustained promotion, from those who we humans would believe/listen too, respect , may lead us down a path of some recklessness. "Some" is the operative word there, as we have seen with the legalization of Marijuana in some states, just because you can, does not mean they/we humans, are robbing banks, stealing grandma's purse, for that next "puff".
I believe it is time to stand up, speak out, educate ourselves, and loved ones.
Thanks RJ
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