I’ve been living with HIV for 34 years, however, I didn’t learn of my status until almost three and half years later. For sure I survived the most difficult period of the AIDS pandemic. We have gone from no medication, when I was diagnosed the Spring of 1987, to forty-three medications in five different classes, based on how they work against HIV. Yet, HIV is still very much a problem, not only in the United States but abroad. Specifically in the U. S., people living with HIV are still plagued with stigma, which affects people getting tested and diagnosed so they can begin treatment, but also, the stigma brings so much shame some end treatment, for fear that someone may learn of their status.
As we observe World AIDS Day today, it’s crazy to think 36 years into this pandemic we are still stuck on some of the same issues that we had in 1981 after the first cases were recored by the Centers for Disease Control, and even in 1994, 13 years after I appeared on the cover of Essence magazine. Discrimination is still rampant. There is this unwillingness to accept medical advancements around HIV.
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