The face of HIV/AIDS is no longer what we have come to expect; we are not the dying and sick that the media has come to portray over the years. We are in fact your brothers, sisters, coworkers, daughters, sons, neighbors, and friends and we are not any different than someone who is not living with HIV.
The media and society has taught us over the years that someone who is living with HIV or AIDS is someone who is sick and dying. Well guess what, this may have been true at one point in time but it is not anymore.
With advancements in medical treatment, those of use who are living with the virus are living longer and healthier lives. You can no longer just look at someone and tell that they may have an HIV or AIDS diagnosis. Many of us who are on a medication regiment may not even show any physical signs of the virus at all. So ask yourself this: Why has the "face" of HIV/AIDS remained the same for so many years?
We must never forget those who were affected by the early outbreak of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s as it is through them we are given strength to keep fighting and continue to fight not only the virus itself but also the stigma that surrounds it. They are an important part of our history and we must understand them better to know just where we have come from and where our future is heading. But that being said, we must also come to realize that as we have these medical advancements and breakthroughs, they are in fact changing the "face" of HIV and those living with the virus.
We hear all the time that HIV is no longer a death sentence and this is true. If you have HIV and take a medication or medications to help fight the virus, then it is not a death sentence. If this is so, than why is it that when we think of HIV/AIDS, we still think of those that are sick? This is because the face of HIV used to be just that, but we can change this through showing the world that we are healthy and can live normal productive lives.
It is through showing the world that we are not so different that we able to change the face associated with HIV and AIDS and also in turn help to fight the stigma that surrounds it.
I will ask you this: Does HIV look like me?
I work full time, I have an amazing boyfriend, and I live my life. I do not let HIV define who I am as a person, it is just a part of my life.