HIV AIDS Stigma and education

Positive Champions Educate About HIV/AIDS and Address Stigma

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Positive Champions Educate about HIV/AIDS and Address Stigma
 

by HPCNEF on 8/6/2012

Every 9 ½ minutes, someone in the US is infected with HIV. An estimated 1 in 4 individuals that have HIV don’t know it. Too often HIV-Positive people suffer the Stigma of HIV/AIDS. On top of handling life altering news and new health challenges, they sometimes face rejection by family and friends when they need them the most. People with HIV/AIDS may be forced out of homes, lose their jobs or even become victims of violence.

Launching this month, the Daytona-based Positive Champions Speakers Bureau (PCSB) is a committed and diverse group of HIV-Positive people who know first-hand the effects that HIV has on communities. Positive Champions educate about HIV/AIDS and the issues of living with the disease. Their mission is to end the myths and stigma associated with it.

For more information, visit www.daytonaspeakersbureau.com/ (soon to be www.PositiveChampions.org).

The group can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PositiveChampionsDaytonaSpeakersBureau.

Powerful YouTube videos presenting the speakers’ stories in their own words, located here: http://www.youtube.com/user/positivechampions?feature=results_main

From PCSB:
 
How is HIV Spread?
You may have heard rumors or myths about how HIV is transmitted. Here are the facts:
  • Not using a condom when having sex with a person who has HIV. All unprotected sex with someone who has HIV contains some risk.
  • Having multiple sex partners or the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) increases the risk of infection during sex. Unprotected oral sex is also a risk for HIV transmission, but it is a much lower risk than anal or vaginal sex.
  • Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water or other items used to prepare illicit drugs for injection.
  • Being born to an infected mother—HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding. Treatments are available to reduce the chances of passing HIV to the baby.
What is Behind AIDS Stigma?
Discrimination & stigma fuels the epidemic. Fear of rejection and confidentiality prevent many from getting tested. This means they may spread HIV to others without knowing it. It also prevents people from talking about their status with sex partners or people with whom they share needles.
  • HIV is a deadly disease that many people fear.
  • Some still wrongly believe that they can catch HIV through casual contact, such as sharing a drinking glass or a toilet seat. This greatly increases their fear about being near people who are infected.
  • Many people connect HIV/AIDS with behaviors that are already stigmatized, such as sex between gay individuals or injecting drugs.
  • Some people believe that having HIV/AIDS is the person’s fault. They might think it’s the result of moral weakness and deserve to be punished.
How can HIV be Prevented?
The most common ways HIV is transmitted is through anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles with a person infected with HIV. It is important to take steps to reduce the risks associated with these activities.
  • Know your HIV status. Get tested for HIV at least once. If you are at increased risk for HIV, you should get tested at least once a year.
  • Abstain from sexual activity or be in a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
  • If you have HIV, get medical care, treatment and support, to help you stay healthy and reduce your ability to transmit the virus to others.
  • Limit your number of sex partners. The fewer partners you have, the less likely you are to encounter someone who is infected with HIV.
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly. Latex condoms are highly effective at preventing transmission of HIV.
  • Do not use injection drugs. If you do, do not share needles or works.

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