HIV stigma and discrimination are real, painful and persistent forces in the lives of people with HIV. They can also be major barriers to accessing HIV prevention, treatment or care.
We invite you to share your own stories of facing or overcoming stigma and discrimination. Whether you have tackled it fully or still live with the pain of ongoing bias, we care and we want to help you tell your truth.
We also invite stories from the partners or family members of people with HIV who have faced or witnessed stigma or discrimination, as well as those who have experienced pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) stigma or other HIV prevention-related stigma or discrimination.
Tell us your story the best way you know how -- a written story (1000 words or less, please), a YouTube video or whatever works for you. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is always your choice whether you wish to share your name.
Stay strong, and thank you for sharing your story.
Language Stigma and "Disease Free" Dating
"When we use language such as 'are you clean,' we are walking a tangled web of dangerous miscommunication and discrimination," writes George M. Johnson.
Loving Myself Too Much to Accept Stigmatized "Love"
River Huston met someone -- handsome, funny and single -- and he seemed OK with her HIV status. That is until he said, "I think this works ... as long as you don't tell anyone we are together because of the AIDS."
What Is HIV Stigma?
As she approaches 30 years of living with HIV, Sherri Lewis reflects on the HIV-related stigma she's faced and what helps her to rise above it all.
Self Stigmatization: How I Fooled Myself Into Thinking I'm Sick
"When I first started thinking about HIV stigma and how it relates to me, I thought that, for the most part, it doesn't affect me," Charles Sanchez wrote. "Then I looked up a definition of stigma."
HIV Stigma Inquisition: One Man's Experience With a Cotton Swab and a Medical Un-Professional
"The reason for my visit to the clinic had nothing to do with my HIV status. ... However, my visit quickly became less about my concerns and more about how the doctor could fulfill her prophesy about what it means to be a gay man," Brian Minalga writes.
A Child's Love: My Story of Self-Stigma and Redemption
When Lisa Johnson-Lett's fiancé told her children she is HIV positive without her permission, she wasn't sure how her children would react. Then her daughter told her, "Mom, it's okay! No matter what you have, I'm going to love you anyways."