This article was published on November 29th, 2022
World AIDS day is a time to remind the public that AIDS has not disappeared. We have yet to eradicate the virus form the world, despite having cured four people. Many of you reading this will most likely agree that we still need to recognize world AIDS day if we wish to continue to find cures and preventatives for the virus.
But you’re not the problem nor why we are writing this. Still, with YouTube removing videos from their platform because they’re about world AIDS day, it leaves us wondering… Why would such a platform remove videos that shed light on a topic that affects everyone, not just our community?
When big corporations like Google, the owner of YouTube, removes videos about topics that have historically been taboo, it indirectly feeds the stigma they’re attempting to prevent. It’s exactly for this reason, along with some staggering number, that we must continue to promote world AIDS days. When we fail to make the existence of HIV and AIDS public, people know less about the virus, and they will act as if it’s a plague. The stigma surrounding HIV has a direct correlation with lack of education.
Not to mention, in western society, our community is much more affected by HIV than any other group closely followed by medical professionals. Many of those medical workers will be active in our community or be a part of it themselves.
When people fail to know how the virus is spread, they assume the worst. And, when people assume the worst, they begin alienating people with HIV and AIDS. When people feel alienated, they will choose to keep their status confidential.
Or, if people do not know their status, they will live their lives without ever being tested which can lead to more infections. The numbers of people who don’t know their status but pass the virus to sexual partners is staggering.
In 2016, 80% of new HIV cases were transmitted by people who did not know their status, World AIDS day reduces testing stigma.
And one in four Americans are completely unaware of their status.
Outside of the LGBTQ community we know that the wider majority of people will judge us based on our status, even within our community there is a culture of treating others with HIV poorly. People are treated negatively based on their status or perceived status. Meaning, that we will judge people based on what we think, even before we know about their status.
For all these reasons, we must continue to promote awareness for World AIDS day. The virus affects more than our community, but this virus was known as a gay disease in the early 80s and 90s. It is our duty as members of the LGBTQ community to let the world know that we are affected.
And, if we hope to ever have any cure that works for everyone, not just the few who are not resistant to HIV medications, we need increased funding in research for the virus. Without adequate funding the scientists who are working to eradicate the disease will not have the means necessary to carry out testing. Testing that is already very complex and expensive because of the nature of the HIV virus.
Have you or someone you love been affected by HIV? If so, what have you done to help others understand that this virus is no longer a death threat? And, if someone you know has been affected, have you been guilty of treating them unfairly because of a lack of knowledge surrounding the virus? Let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you.