Today I ran across a post on Facebook by a prominent person in the Black LGBT community here in Houston that works in HIV prevention. It was triggering and full of HIV Stigma (pictured left), disappointed is an understatement to say the least. Living with HIV as I do, the concern is that there are those who have been diagnosed and refuse to get care because of shit like this. There are people who don't get tested because of this type of shit. This picture has been the subject of investigation and debunked by Snopes, a popular fact checking site.
Before I share the information posted on snopes, here are some FACTS:
#HIVFact - HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus.
#HIVFact - HIV is found in semen including pre cum, blood, vaginal and anal fluids, and breast milk. HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, saliva or urine.
* Only certain fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV. These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to possibly occur. Mucous membranes can be found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth.
In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by
Having sex with someone who has HIV. In general:
- Anal sex
- Vaginal sex
- Having multiple sex partners or having other sexually transmitted infections can increase the risk of infection through sex.
#HIVFact - Seroconversion is the period of time during which HIV antibodies develop and become detectable.
*- Seroconversion is the period of time during which HIV antibodies develop and become detectable.
- Seroconversion generally takes place within a few weeks of initial infection.
- It is often, but not always, accompanied by flu-like symptoms including fever, rash, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms are not a reliable way to identify seroconversion or to diagnose HIV infection.
#HIVFact - HIV is a VIRUS that can lead to AIDS which is a SYNDROME.
*stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life.
#HIVFact - AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
#HIVFact - AIDS is diagnosed when the immune system of a person diagnosed with HIV becomes severely compromised.
*HIV disease becomes AIDS when your immune system is seriously damaged. If you have less than 200 CD4+ cells or if your CD4 percentage is less than 14%, you have AIDS.
#HIVFact - There is NO SUCH THING as "full blown AIDS." Stop saying that crap!
#HIVFact - CD4 cells are white blood cells that help to keep us healthy and play a role in protecting our immune system.
Below is the post that I am talking about running across, I am highly conflicted about sharing these screenshots. But people's lives are at play here and someone in his particular line of work needs to be more thoughtful about what he posts. MOST of the people who work in Houston HIV prevention are HIV negative, which is problematic as fuck...I dont know Jovuan's status and its no one's business.
Take a look for yourselves:
"Panic and ignorance leads people to believe an urban legend about "HIV blood filled needles" being inserted in gas pumps. HIV cannot be transmitted this way because it cannot live outside the body! Also, where is the source coming from? Newsflash, if it's coming from Worldstar Hip Hop it's probably fake! Plus, false stories like this push a ridiculous narrative about the ways HIV is contracted while ignoring the fact that HIV is a manageable condition if one adheres to medication. Undetectable equals non transmittable. If we continue to post stuff like this, people will continue to feel ashamed about getting tested. I for one am tired of seeing young gay, particularly black men, still dying from complications to AIDS, especially when HIV is not a death sentence anymore. Let me find out some of you still think you can still catch it from a handshake or eating off the same plate as a poz person.
#fuckstigma #notonemore" - Graham Maio
Far too often those who work in the #HIV prevention field take on this attitude that they can do no wrong and that is a dangerous standard. Not seeing the error of your ways without being held accountable stops now. If you work in health care, regardless of the entity, you became responsible to those you signed on to play whatever roles that may exist in the field of HIV prevention and treatment. I have said it before and I will say it again...."To be honest, when dealing with HIV outside and within the Black community, stigma has a stronghold. The lack of HIV 101 plays a large part in why stigma is such a huge issue, it is saddening. It is one of the reasons that I came out of the HIV closet, which was for everyone who has been ostracized and made to feel nasty."