December 1st is World AIDS Day. A few days ago a friend shared with me a video by singer Annie Lennox in which she talks about her SING campaign raising awareness for women and children suffering from HIV/AIDS. In the video, Ms. Lennox appears in a t-shirt that boldly proclaims “HIV Positive” on the front.
Now, the fact of the matter is that she is not HIV positive. Her point, though, is that the disease continues to be stigmatize those who are infected. This stigma is unwarranted and negatively impacts both the quality of life and the access to treatment for people with HIV.
The video and t-shirt got me to thinking. Why is it that when I considered whether I would wear one of these shirts, I had a momentary hesitation? I comfortably wear t-shirts that proclaim all sorts of other things, but what reactions might I experience if I wore this shirt? That hesitation highlighted for me that the stigma remains very real and something we must all continue to work to erase.
May the need for a World AIDS Day soon be no more.