Live and Let Live
by Bradford McIntyre
I am writing to you in regards to the HIV/AIDS stigma, fear and discrimination. I live in Vancouver, Canada, and I have been living with HIV for going on 19 years and actively involved in many HIV/AIDS issues for the past ten years. I am OUT about my HIV status, locally, nationally and around the world. I have a web site which allows me to be in contact with people all over the world.
Individuals living with HIV, are not asking to be different. They are no different than anyone else, only that they are living with an illness and that illness is HIV. In order for people to come out about their HIV status, governments around the world must assure individuals that they are safe from discrimination, and those who discriminate/ or harm individuals infected will be prosecuted.
HIV is in the news minimally when it should be forefront. HIV prevention methods are not working because people are not disclosing they are infected due to fear of discrimination. Who better to reach people than those who are living with HIV who are not afrraid to talk about the fact that they are living with HIV. People need to see others living with HIV who are out about their status, in order to move away from the fear.
World AIDS Day is approaching and this year the message is LIVE and LET LIVE. I am committed to doing everything I can in order to create awareness and break the boundaries of fear and discrimination. Many people world wide are out about their HIV status and many many more voicing they would also like to be able to live without fear and let others know they are living with HIV. Unfortunately, the fear of discrimination still exists today and this prevents many from feeling safe about revealing their status.
Letter to AVERT.org Your Stories - HIV/AIDS: Men Living with HIV (2002)