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

March 14, 2014


Cedric Sturdevant

Cedric Sturdevant

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

Stigma in our area basically is no education, still, surrounding the disease. One thing that I think that we could do to kind of combat that stigma is to really start educating people. I think we need to go into the high schools. I always say somebody should go into middle schools -- into middle schools, into high schools, especially our churches, you know, in our homes, to really talk about HIV. First we need to start talking about sex; you know, then we have to talk about different lifestyles that people live. And HIV, and I think that'd eliminate a lot of the stigma, once we start doing all that. In the area that I live, in Mississippi, people just don't want to talk, period. So it we should start talking, just start having conversations -- go into the middle schools, see what they know; have the churches to really realize that you can't just talk about HIV and not talk about sex or not talk about homosexuality. So, to get all that out in the open, and start having dialogues about it, I think it would kinda eliminate some of the stigma that we have today in our community.

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