Why the stigma associated with HIV?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 23, 2010 6:20 AM GMT
    Why do you think in 2010 there is still such negative stigma associated with someone that has HIV?
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    May 23, 2010 1:43 PM GMT
    I'm not HIV positive and am 45yo. I count my blessings, but I realized I was gay at the time the public was first becoming aware of the disease.

    I have been in relationships with Poz guys and am willing to again, but there is always an underlying element of fear if you go "too far" when you are having sex, even though it is safe (always).

    I don't want to seroconvert, I don't want to have to deal with those medical issues.

    For me, any stigma is the anger about people converting, even though there is so much knowledge about how to prevent it.
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    May 23, 2010 2:00 PM GMT
    As long as there is aggressive ignorance there is going to be stigma. We're far more likely to see a cure for HIV within our lifetimes that we will for that.
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    May 23, 2010 2:11 PM GMT
    theres a stigma cuz no one takes the time to educate themselves (even gay guys are guilty of this) and they look at it as something that they can get by getting sneezed on.
  • DCEric

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    May 23, 2010 2:14 PM GMT
    ....because there is no cure. The stigma with other STDs significantly dropped off after a cure was discovered.
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    May 23, 2010 2:18 PM GMT
    I have to go with it's a "regional" thing.

    I'm from CA and the stigma of HIV is less, and I spent the last 6 years in SF and it's practically null there! However, I now reside (temporarily) in Denver and the stigma is HUGE here, even by the ones that are POS. Those that are have a different approach/mentality about HIV than on the West Coast. It's definitely more of hush hush thing here vs back in CA which is sad because the less that's shared/discussed the less that is known.
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    May 23, 2010 2:32 PM GMT
    DCEric said....because there is no cure. The stigma with other STDs significantly dropped off after a cure was discovered.


    Bingo. Pretending that infection isn't a big deal doesn't make contracting HIV any less permanent.
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    May 23, 2010 2:33 PM GMT
    back2nyc saidI dont think there is any stigma attached to HIV positive people - it is more of a "fear". Remember the first time you were diagnosed with HIV?? The fear you went through - is the same it is for others too - so HIV pos. people must try to understand this and accept it rather than challenge it constantly.

    I am not comfortable knowingly having sex with an HIV pos. person - even despite using protection because there is still always that little LIFE-CHANGING risk involved. Becoming HIV pos. as treatable the disease may be today - still changes your entire life around and this is what people fear - has nothing to do with stigma.


    What I think Redbull is getting at isn't so much the fear and trepidation of dating or hooking up with a poz person, but the general attitude we so often see towards poz people in general. There have been numerous members on here even within the last few months, some of them very well known and prolific posters, that have stated that they would rather not be around or even know an hiv+ person. The reasons have ranged from moral judgment to the "why waste my time getting to know someone who is damaged goods and going to die anyway" argument.

    People often assume that our frustration is merely in the realm of greatly reduced number of willing partners. For myself and many others, it's being treated like I am less deserving of basic friendship or even courtesy because of my status.
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    May 23, 2010 2:36 PM GMT
    GuerrillaSodomite said The reasons have ranged from moral judgment to the "why waste my time getting to know someone who is damaged goods and going to die anyway" argument.


    That's a horrible argument.... Everyone is bound to die. icon_neutral.gif
  • DCEric

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    May 23, 2010 2:52 PM GMT
    GuerrillaSodomite said
    "why waste my time getting to know someone who is damaged goods and going to die anyway" argument.


    Sounds like by stating this they have saved your time getting to know them. Thank them and move on. There are plenty of us who aren't looking to have sex with every gay guy we meet, or are at least intelligent enough to know that HIV/AIDS isn't transmitted through knowing a person who is positive.
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    May 23, 2010 3:25 PM GMT
    A1EX said
    GuerrillaSodomite said The reasons have ranged from moral judgment to the "why waste my time getting to know someone who is damaged goods and going to die anyway" argument.

    That's a horrible argument.... Everyone is bound to die. icon_neutral.gif

    I AM??? icon_eek.gif

    OK, some serious thoughts, since I work with HIV/AIDS agencies, had a poz partner. These don't represent my own views, but are what I think influence others, and we talk a lot about this in the HIV-care community:

    1. The history of HIV/AIDS. It didn't even have an accepted name at first, a mystery disease that was spreading & killing without clear explanation, much less responding to treatments. No one knew how contagious it might be, even to non-gays who had casual contact with gays, who might already be infected, widespread testing not yet in place. Now THAT was scary, and left a reflexive fear & prejudice that remains to this day.
    2. It is generally assumed to be terminal with time. That time is constantly being extended, but it's still a chronic & incurable disease. Humans seem to want to distance themselves from those they think are "dying" regardless of cause. Therefore it's important to educate people that having HIV/AIDS is NOT dying, but rather having a health condition that needs careful attention.
    3. HIV is manageable, but can still progress to AIDS despite good health indicators. Fatal opportunistic diseases are like Russian roulette, that a person can contract at any time without warning, some still totally incurable & fast acting. That's how my partner died. That makes an LTR with a poz man a tough decision for some, yet others like A1EX do hold the view that "Everyone is bound to die" and are not deterred by poz-status relationships. I wasn't, nor are a number of my friends.
    4. HIV management can be expensive & detrimental to quality of life. It's no fun having to take a lot of medicine according to a very strict regimen, and being medically monitored for the rest of your life. Plus there are still many unpleasant side effects that some experience.
    5. HIV/AIDS is still considered the "gay disease" by many, and so the same societal stigma that accompanies merely being gay in many quarters gets doubly applied to those with this condition.
    6. In combination with the last point, contracting HIV/AIDS is popularly associated with having anal sex. That practice is one of the most difficult things for the straight community to accept about gays, and their disapproval is also added to the stigma about HIV/AIDS.

    Now some of the above are not strictly a "stigma" so much as personal challenges. Yet that medical burden gets translated into stigma by some others, in the same way as cancer can. Cancer patients will tell you how suddenly old friends can start becoming distant and drifting away once the diagnosis is known. So it's just not with HIV/AIDS alone where stigma over a medical condition can occur.
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    May 23, 2010 3:36 PM GMT
    The ignorance by SOME right here on this thread is a PERFECT example of what the OP is getting at!
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    May 23, 2010 3:44 PM GMT
    Why don't most people want aids?

    Constant worry about health
    Decreased health over time
    Die prematurely
    Life on medication sucks
    Very expensive medication
    No cure
    Having to tell people before sex (at least that's the right the thing to)

    I view it as a life changing disease. Unlike other STDs which have cures, or viruses that can be suppressed with medication, for the most part these won't have a long term affect on daily life.

    HIV is a big deal and its something that should be avoided actively (safe sex). For people who think you can get HIV from sharing the same drink, just educate them. But don't downplay the seriousness of it. Even though medicine has been improving over time, it still leads to an early death.
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    May 23, 2010 4:01 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    A1EX said
    GuerrillaSodomite said The reasons have ranged from moral judgment to the "why waste my time getting to know someone who is damaged goods and going to die anyway" argument.

    That's a horrible argument.... Everyone is bound to die. icon_neutral.gif

    I AM??? icon_eek.gif

    OK, some serious thoughts, since I work with HIV/AIDS agencies, had a poz partner. These don't represent my own views, but are what I think influence others, and we talk a lot about this in the HIV-care community:


    6. In combination with the last point, contracting HIV/AIDS is popularly associated with having anal sex. That practice is one of the most difficult things for the straight community to accept about gays, and their disapproval is also added to the stigma about HIV/AIDS.



    Except not all gay men practice anal sex but you're right, the stigma that gay men have anal sex is probably the most pervasive stigma about gay men there is.


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    May 23, 2010 4:17 PM GMT
    Apparently being HIV- affects reading comprehension skills. GS was merely pointing out what he has observed and not expressing his personal opinion about people living with HIV.

    Yeah, well, why the fuck? The whole thing got started as GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency). There was an entire political epoch dedicated to an organized attempt to ignore us into genocide. Is it really any surprise that HIV is still stigmatized?

    Fuck, we have people on here who would make your average Neanderthal look like Dag Hammerskjold.

    Until no one is HIV+ then we are all HIV+. I for one refuse to give my life and my happiness either to a retrovirus or a retro-human.
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    May 23, 2010 4:28 PM GMT
    Even though medicine has been improving over time, it still leads to an early death.
    [/quote]

    Meds now days are amazing, take it from someone that is Poz. I have been living with HIV for over two years now sadly i am on meds but since i started my meds my white blood cell counts has never been higher. yeah there are some side affectcts with the meds but they are mild. i understand the scare and fear of getting HIV, been there at one point in time, contracted it from being rapped when i was 19 but sob story over i moved on im taking meds and with my meds i will be able to live my life out like the rest of everyone else. And with the meds im on i may still have hiv but its has been supressed to the point that its not progressing any firther than HIV for the last year and a half since i started meds my HIV has been undetectable, still there but has stopped growing and spreading. So meds are very helpful now days. And more people with HIV die from getting another sickness then from the virus itself, and thats the people that dotn take care of themselfs. If you have any questions please feel free to message me, i have no reason to lie to any of you.
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    May 23, 2010 4:44 PM GMT
    Dragoonxi said
    Red_Vespa said
    6. In combination with the last point, contracting HIV/AIDS is popularly associated with having anal sex. That practice is one of the most difficult things for the straight community to accept about gays, and their disapproval is also added to the stigma about HIV/AIDS.

    Except not all gay men practice anal sex but you're right, the stigma that gay men have anal sex is probably the most pervasive stigma about gay men there is.


    Indeed, I was referring to popular notions about gay men. Perhaps I should have written: "That practice, erroneously presumed for most gay men, is one of the most difficult things for the straight community to accept about gays..."
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    May 23, 2010 4:47 PM GMT
    sportsguy933 saidWhy don't most people want aids?


    What forum post did you read? The OP is asking about HIV. While that can lead to AIDS in time, your assumption of it being interchangeable with HIV is rather uneducated.


    Constant worry about health
    As humans, we always worry about our health no matter what is going on inside of us. We worry about passing along a cold at work or school; about sides effects of high blood pressure the doc prescribes. I much more concern myself with understanding how I can help my immune system sustain itself, rather than worry.

    Decreased health over time
    Really? Over time = age. Age = breakdown of the body. Breakdown of the body = decreased health over time. HIV can cause this to speed up, but it is a common occurrence when the body is battling any other infection.

    Die prematurely
    I could get hit by a car in my apartment's parking lot when I walk out the door later.

    Life on medication sucks
    I'm sure it does. You could even ask the folks with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, ....

    Very expensive medication
    See previous comment. Also...the price vs. being able to reduce the symptoms of any infection. That is what you are pitting against each other in this comment. Are you saying life isn't worth dropping money on...especially if one is infected?

    I don't mean to tear you down, but these are rather broadly based fears and do nothing, but promote the idea that HIV and AIDS are exactly the same. They are NOT. Read up http://www.thebody.com/content/whatis/art6571.html
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    May 23, 2010 5:14 PM GMT
    a lott of it has to do with fear of the unknown
    they know to little of it , to be comfortable near u
    they dont know what it is ,how it works
    how to avoid it, etc

    its scary when u dont know what u are dealing with
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    May 23, 2010 5:23 PM GMT
    which, again is why i have stated in my earlier post, if you have any questions about HIV, please ask me, im living with it and i can give you more indepts answers and explain more about what i have gone through and how to help you better take care of yourselfs to help stop you from gettng it.
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    May 23, 2010 5:33 PM GMT
    I think a better question would be why are people still dumb enough to have unprotected sex in 2010?
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    May 23, 2010 5:33 PM GMT
    The stigma comes because there is no cure for it and those with hiv have to be on meds for the rest of their life, which can be very costly without health insurance. So natually everyone is very scared about getting it.
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    May 23, 2010 5:44 PM GMT
    not everyone HAS to be on meds, i have friends well into their 60's that have HIV and have never once had to take meds to treat their HIV ... so sorry barefootdude that line of logic wont fly
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    May 23, 2010 5:52 PM GMT
    redbull saidWhy do you think in 2010 there is still such negative stigma associated with someone that has HIV?

    Describe the stigma you are asking about, please.
  • Akula

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    May 23, 2010 5:59 PM GMT
    sorry but I'd rather become HIV poz then get some of the more common cancers. I know people who have been poz for over 20 years and are more healthy then some of the people on this site. I also know people who got cancer and were dead inside a year.