Wednesday, October 23, 2013


It has always bothered me when someone tells me that they are "clean" and do not HIV. I do not blame them for using that terminology, if you think about it, the saying has been around since the beginning. When you go to the doctor, it has always been a great thing to say "I got a clean bill of health". In the world of HIV though, when you add the stigma and the feelings of shame that usually accompany testing reactive it brings on a whole new meaning when someone says they are clean. To me, it feels that they are implying that I am dirty. This is all in our own perceptions of what we understand and they way we take things. I do not think in my heart of hearts, that any of my friends have ever meant any disrespect when they say they are clean. Even when testing people for HIV nowadays, you are instructed to use the terms, reactive and non-reactive. This just gets down again to education and letting the "non-reactive" world know what may bother us as being reactive. When it comes to your feelings and your health, whether physical or mental, it is of the utmost importance to inform and educate everyone you can, friends and family especially, on the ins and outs of HIV and the stigma that can surround it. Think back before you tested reactive, how much did you really know about the virus. I for one was not only na├»ve, okay borderline stupid, when it came to everything that surrounds HIV. I am well prepared today to handle most situations and stigma related issues because I have armed myself with the best arsenal I could ever have, education and openness. You have to keep in mind though, that everything that involves HIV changes not only on a daily basis, but sometimes hourly. So keep on learning so you can keep others informed. Have a great Wednesday, know you are loved! Love and peace,       

Michael V. Jones Pensacola, Florida
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