IN AIDS BATTLE
Our best resource
infected with HIV!
by Bradford McIntyre
KEY IN AIDS BATTLE
Published in Pambazuka News Africa/Global
Educación sobre VIH-SIDA
Publicado en Enkidu Magazine-Eye Opening International News (Mexico)
May 6, 2004 - Education
is paramount if we are to reach individuals infected with HIV
and those living with AIDS. Obviously,
our best resource is from those who are affected by the disease!
Information is not reaching those most in need and there is a
certain mistrust of science and medicine. People are afraid. Many
have only seen or heard of people dying and many people believe
the drugs will kill them. It is important that they learn from
those whose lives have been saved and who have benefited from
the drug treatments, renewing a quality of life they would not
have had otherwise.
Who better to explain the realities of living
Infected people have the experience of living with
the disease and its management. Considerable numbers have educated
themselves in every aspect.
Who better to explain that being HIV+ is
not the same as having AIDS?
Multitudes of people believe they are better
off not knowing they have tested positive. They are under the
impression that infection with HIV means they have AIDS. Their
incorrect belief that a positive test assures that they will automatically
die prevents them from choosing to be tested. They don't want
Who better to explain the importance of knowing
your immune system (CD4) and its level of functioning and the
need to be aware of the degree of viral replication (viral load)
through regular blood investigation?
Who better to explain the realities of the
treatment regimen and the definite benefits of pharmaceuticals?
Who better than individuals living with HIV
and AIDS to explain the importance of nutrition and the many alternative
and complementary therapies available, which may aid in the management
of wellness, with or without medications?
Who better to show you can live with HIV!
HIV needs to be in the media each and every
Information is sadly lacking. Snippets of
news and safe sex commercials are not effective enough. The media
has fallen short in reaching people globally. Misconceptions continue.
Individuals are not getting tested. They are afraid to seek medical
attention and do not realize there is much they can do to prevent
the progression of HIV to AIDS. By the time many do get tested,
it is often too late and they are already experiencing illness.
People who engage in unprotected sex risk
infecting themselves and others. By not practicing safe sex, they
are at greater risk of being infected with multiple strains and
causing progression to disease.
"We estimate that roughly half of all
people living with HIV either don't know that they are infected,
or they are not in care, or both," Dr.
Harold Jaffe, acting director of the National Center for HIV,
Sexually Transmitted Di
An HIV test allows you to know if you are
infected. The only way to determine how HIV is reacting in your
body is with regular blood work!
The general public is unaware of the many
realities of HIV or that people can live with HIV. Here in Canada,
PRIDE VISION Television Network (The World's First GLBT Television
Network) has programming with HIV/AIDS news, interviews, talk
shows, shorts, documentaries, movies, prevention messages and
more. Pride Vision programming covers GLBT related issues and
it covers every aspect of HIV/AIDS in detail. It shows that HIV
affects everyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, colour,
and religion or spiritual beliefs.
Efforts to educate and tackle the stigma
are hampered greatly when people living with HIV are not seen
and heard discussing these issues.
Mainstream networks should follow the example
of the PRIDE VISION network. With the current body of knowledge
available, more efforts are necessary through every branch of
the media, to reach and educate many more people. We must keep
these messages highly visible if we are to move away from the
ignorance, the fear and the stigma! This will encourage disclosure!
Vancouver, BC, Canada
copyright © Bradford McIntyre