Not everyone knows what HIV stands for, but we all know about the shame that surrounds it. Let’s bring HIV out into the light and end the shame-based fears that alienate members of our community. How have you embraced your vulnerability and conquered your shame?
For our latest episode of SPARK Off!, our Community Solutions Fellow, Mutebi Bwakywa sits down with Zina Age of Aniz, Inc. who shares her perspective on the intersection between HIV stigma and race. Listen to the episode with your friends & family and let us know what you think!
We can’t escape the daily grind – be it family or career, there’s no shortage of obligations and distractions that keep us too busy from mindfully engaging the world around us and the people we share it with. What are the barriers that keep you from exploring your empathy? What are the ways in which we subconsciously alienate each other? What can you do to make room in your life & your community for others? What can you do to make room for YOU?
HIV should not be a barrier for interaction and unity among us. Embracing the members of our community that are living with HIV expands our sense of our humanity as a whole and is one small way of saying we all belong – there is room for each and every one of us!
To each of us is the equal benefit of sustenance. And to each of us should be equal opportunity to what our societies have to offer. Anti-RetroViral (ARV) treatment is but the additional sustenance that some people require; it should change nothing about the extension of dues owed to them by societies.
My name is Spark! I am 25, queer, Black and living in the South… I want to ask you this… How far would you go to keep a secret from the world; a secret that would give the world an excuse to turn its back on you?
On the other hand, how little would you be willing to consciously contribute to improve your community by improving the lives of others?
Let those questions linger as I tell you that I am HIV positive – and have been since birth. Not many people know this, except for a few family members. You really wouldn’t know they were my family if you witnessed our interactions – or the lack of them. I am afraid of openly disclosing my HIV status out of fear that it will influence the rest of my relationships and social encounters in a similar way. I want to share my status, but then I ask myself, what about the shame, unequal treatment, and stigma I might receive? I am afraid of the death of my confidence. Should I share my status?…
I have decided to start a 30-day digital campaign for the month of November. Please help me by sharing a status, picture, and/or video about how you think HIV stigmatization manifests itself and the effect it has, not only on people living with HIV, but also non-HIV+ individuals in our societies.
This campaign is for and about people living and thriving with HIV! It is about the resources and power we hold, that we sometimes are forced, out of fear, to suppress. It is about US! Together we will fight the battle of de-stigmatization and reclaim our voices, in order to internally and externally shift the way we all think about HIV and people living with it. It’s about US as Heroes4HIV! So, “let’s talk about it!”
Heroes4HIV denotes responsibility unto each and every one of us because we all live in a world that has HIV. Therefore, having been informed by people around us, we can choose to consciously respond to HIV in a manner that brings us together and shifts the way we think.