World AIDS Day: ABC News correspondent and producer share the stigma of living with HIV

Durham, NC-Nearly 80 million people have been diagnosed since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. More than 36 million people have died.

HIV is a treatable disease and people living with the virus can lead a complete and healthy life, but many live with the stigma and shame associated with the disease for the past 40 years. ..

on World AIDS DayIn an attempt to dismantle some of its stigma, ABC News Radio anchor Lionel Moise shared his diagnosis with the world. Tim Pulliam’s best friend at ABC11 shared this post as his attempt to open a conversation.

“We feel responsible to all of us. As journalists, we have a platform that can inform and inspire others,” Moise said. I am. “My diagnosis was very awkward to me. At that moment I felt unsupported and couldn’t understand. Sharing my story would help others. I think, importantly, I feel it is my duty to use this platform to help others. “

Moise said he was diagnosed five years ago. He was diagnosed alone for fear of talking to his friends, but later learned that many of his friends were experiencing the same situation.

“We all experienced only the time of diagnosis and the emotions that accompany it,” Moise said. “I think the first step in ending this and moving forward is to have an honest conversation.”

Another colleague who came out and had an honest conversation was Anthony Morrison, a producer at Good Morning America. The person who announced his diagnosis in August..

“For me, during the diagnosis, there was such a push to take the test at the time,” Morrison said. “But if you get positive results, no one will tell you what to do or where to go. When it comes to testing, it’s our duty to share the overall experience. I think. This is what is available and this is what is there. The community that exists around this. “

After sharing his diagnosis, Morrison said the support from colleagues, friends, and the entire community was overwhelming.

“We can’t really prepare for such a response,” Morrison said. “It’s really about influential visibility and expression. You can’t have expression unless you know how you want to be expressed, and to me, I’m through all of this, I Struggle. Through my story, I want others to see themselves in their struggle through me. “

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% of people living with HIV in 2018 Between black men..22% in the following year Hispanic and Latino men..

However, the diagnosis of HIV is neither a lifelong sentence of stigma nor a death sentence 40 years ago. Therapeutic drug, Known as PEP, can make a person’s viral load undetectable. According to the CDC, if one person’s viral load falls below a detectable level, another person cannot be infected with the virus.

“It hasn’t been detected right after the diagnosis,” Moise said. “I’m still taking precautions. I think we all need to take precautions and protect ourselves in a way that we feel is necessary depending on the relationship you are in, but I’m perfect. I was able to build a loving relationship. The fear of infecting my loved ones. I think that’s the key, because if people are being treated, we stop this spread. Because it can and is important. “

Another drug, known as PrEP, is a preventative measure to prevent infection with the virus in the first place.Rules passed by the Biden administration earlier this year Free medicine for everyone under most insurance plans.

However, despite major advances in treatment and prevention, the stigma remains, both inside and outside the community.apart from Nationwide lack of blood donation, The US Food and Drug Administration bans men who have sex with men (about 5% of the US male population) from donating blood. Refrain from having sex for 3 months.. Although the three-month revision came as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, WPVI meteorologist Adam Joseph is a homosexual who has been uniquely partnering with her husband for 13 years. It feels like a slap.

“We are turning our backs on the door,” Joseph said. “To me, Tim seems to be a very backward and old spirit to say that you don’t have to have sex or love each other intimately for three months just for one blood donation. is.”

“Conversations are important here,” added Moise. “This rule didn’t change until a pandemic donation was urgently needed, so if this didn’t happen, this debate wouldn’t have happened in the first place. And even with such a change, the sector Group away, it feels discriminatory. “

Both Moise and Joseph said they donated blood before going out as gay, but haven’t donated since then.

“Since then, I have had to be loyal to myself, not give it, and swallow wounds and pains that couldn’t help my family. I couldn’t help strangers. I couldn’t help. It’s urgently needed. “

As the conversation progressed, the man agreed that the most important thing was to continue open and honest discussions about the test and treatment, and how to get help if the test was positive.

“It will be a turnkey opportunity to help people be open to testing in ways that may now be overcome with fear and anxiety,” Morrison said. “It doesn’t end with a test. It’s just the beginning.”

Moise also pointed out that the virus not only infects men who have sex with men, but can also infect anyone, and regular testing is the key to ending the epidemic.

“When we talk about HIV and AIDS, we are often divided into groups: the gay community, the black community. This is a virus that can infect any of us,” Moise said. .. “If you have a baby, if you have sex, you can be HIV positive. It’s not discriminatory. You need to talk to protect yourself and others. The more you talk, the less taboo you get on the test. , Ultimately you can save more lives. “

For more information on HIV and where to be tested in the community click here..

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World AIDS Day: ABC News correspondent and producer share the stigma of living with HIV

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