February 5, 2015

February 5, 2015

Do You Help Spread HIV Stigma?

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are still dealing with the flu, fluid in my lungs and other symptoms.

I recently read something great about stigma for people living with HIV which I would like to share with you today.

HIV stigma is a revolving cycle that doesn't seem to have an end in sight: HIV stigma limits access to care, prevents disclosure from occurring, and makes HIV-positive persons' already difficult lives even harder. HIV-positive persons do report HIV stigma and discrimination from healthcare professionals. Please read the numerous studies that have been conducted about HIV stigma and healthcare professionals here.

However, every human being has a right to be treated with respect and dignity, especially when seeking treatment in a healthcare facility

The question is: What if it was you who was HIV-positive?

Would you want to be treated with compassion when seeking healthcare that is absolutely necessary to help you stay healthy? What if it was your family member who was HIV-positive? Would you like your grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin, niece... to be treated well and given unprejudiced care in a healthcare facility?

After watching the video, some soul searching is in order for each of us who offers healthcare to HIV-positive persons. Can we really expect HIV-positive persons to open up to us when they sense HIV stigma in our body language and the care we offer them? If we ourselves help spread HIV stigma, where can a HIV-positive parent in need of advice on how to disclosure to their children turn to for help?

HIV disclosure is key for a HIV-positive person to access social support and adhere to their medications. As long as HIV stigma continues inside of healthcare facilities, poor attendance for healthcare and low disclosure rates may continue indefinitely. Let's take the challenge won't we? Let's examine ourselves and determine if there is something each of us can do to improve the care we give to HIV-positive persons so that they feel welcomed and non-stigmatized enough to seek our advice on key issues such as HIV disclosure to children.

So let's all work together to help end stigma for people living with HIV and AIDS. Hope you have a beary safe and great Thursday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab