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The Georgia Straight - straight.com

SURVIVOR FIGHTS STIGMA ASSOCIATED WITH HIV

Photo: Bradford McIntyre, HIV Survivor since 1984.
Bradford McIntyre says it's important to end the stigma over being HIV positive.
Photo Credit: Charlie Smith

by Charlie Smith on Aug 4, 2014: Print Edition

At this year's Vancouver Pride celebrations, Bradford McIntyre marked another milestone in his remarkable life.

The long-term HIV Survivor changed the sign he carried in the 2004 parade to reflect that he's still here 30 years after being infected with the retrovirus. A decade ago, the sign said "20 years".

Emblazoned across the front of his white T-shirt was the message "No shame about being HIV+".

"I'm in shock that I'm still alive and still here and still doing this," McIntyre told the Straight at the corner of Robson and Bute Streets.

McIntyre sees it as a tremendous opportunity for public education about HIV, which killed scores of Vancouverites before effective treatment was developed. "I nearly died of PCP pneumonia in 1998 and it was the antiretroviral medications that saved my life," he said. "I've been undetectable [viral load] since then. I'm not able to transmit."

He explained that the "treatment as prevention" approach pioneered by Dr. Julio Montaner's team at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS has made it possible for HIV-positive people not to infect others.

"So what we need to do is find out who's infected," McIntyre said. "There's 35 million people worldwide that are infected and 19 million people don't know that they are."

McIntyre created the Positivelypositive.ca website to counter the stigma associated with being HIV positive. He said he believes that this is an important step in addressing the epidemic.

He's not happy that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has never spoken to Canadians about HIV, even as youth, seniors, and people in aboriginal communities continue to be infected. "We need a prime minister who's going to acknowledge Julio Montaner and the Canadian researchers who've worked so hard and are being accepted all around the world but are not being acknowledged by our own prime minister," McIntyre said.

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Georgia Straight Online

Pride 2014: Bradford McIntyre proudly declares his HIV status to encourage others to get tested

http://www.straight.com/life/699756/pride-2014-bradford-mcintyre-proudly-declares-his-hiv-status-encourage-others-get-tested


"Reproduced with permission - The Georgia Straight"

The Georgia Straight
www.straight.com


About the Georgia Straight
Canada's Largest Urban Weekly
No other city publication knows more about Vancouver than the Georgia Straight. Established as the lifestyle and entertainment weekly in Vancouver for over 40 years, the Georgia Straight is an integral part of the active urban West Coast lifestyle with over 804, 000 readers (2009 Angus Reid).
Every Thursday, the Georgia Straight delivers an award-winning editorial package of features, articles, news and reviews. www.straight.com

About Bradford McIntyre
A long time survivor living with HIV since 1984, Bradford McIntyre announced publicly on national TV, on World AIDS Day, December 1, 1994; that he was living with HIV. Since 1994, whenever possible, Bradford has volunteered his time and energy participating in HIV and AIDS causes and events through all venues: events, media, conferences, seminars, documentaries and speaking engagements. Bradford's story of strong, local presence and international activism inspires and gives hope to countless people.
Bradford's global impact is shown through a comprehensive, informative website: Bradford McIntyre-Positively Positive-Living with HIV/AIDS
www.PositivelyPositive.ca .


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