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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Reality Check -- Stigma Stinks

By Robert Breining

April 7, 2010

<i>Big Brother Germany</i>'s HIV-positive couple, Carlos and Harald.

Big Brother Germany's HIV-positive couple, Carlos and Harald. Photo from

Today I am going to blog about a situation that happened on a reality show called Big Brother in Germany. I was totally shocked about this when I read it. I personally love Big Brother. It is my favorite reality show. Here is a little bit about the show for people who are not familiar with it. Big Brother challenges a group of strangers (houseguests) to live under one roof. They're cut off from the outside world, while cameras catch their every move 24 hours a day, for 3 months, all for the chance at winning $500,000.

Now to the story I wanted to talk about. The German version of the reality show Big Brother has seen the early exit of one contestant, Horst, a 41 year old tattoo artist from Otzberg, after a gay couple, Carlos and Harald, entered the house.

Horst -- tattoo artist.

Horst -- tattoo artist. Photo from

Saying he didn't want to have to deal with living with people who had a serious medical condition (both Carlos and Harald are HIV positive), Horst told fellow contestants that it was not an HIV issue, and that he would have felt the same and come to the same decision for any serious medical condition, such as cancer.

Fellow houseguests did attempt to get Horst to change his mind and stay but the tattoo artist made it clear that he had only come into the Big Brother house to have fun, and that the addition of the HIV-positive couple, Carlos and Harald, had acted to make it a much more serious issue.

What are your thoughts on the way this houseguest reacted? Do we give him a pass because he would've supposedly left the show if it was any other illness, like cancer?

I think it just shows how much the world still need to be educated. As a tattoo artist you would assume that he was educated about HIV. I am hoping this doesn't stop CBS and Big Brother's producers from casting more HIV-positive people in the future.

In Hopes of Inspiring,


Send Robert an e-mail.

See Also
13 Moments in Black Celebrity Activism
History's Biggest HIV-Positive Celebrities
More About HIV on Television


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The Positive Pitch

I describe myself as a "positive person with purpose." My goal is to help people living with HIV/AIDS discover similarities in each other ... and form friendships. I want to ease the shock of a diagnosis and remind people that our dreams are not infected. I am also an HIV/AIDS cyber-activist, radio show host, blogger and social network guru.

For my full bio, click here.

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