Drinking Coke Zero out of a mug as I can’t face the washing up, pizza’s ordered and I’m typing this on the lounge floor… think I might be a little hungover. I had a really good night out in Birmingham attending Beyond Positive’s “Positive Pub Crawl” so the suffering this evening is worth it.
There’s often a lot of debate about the openness of the pub crawls, with people concerned about being identified or labelled HIV+, I understand there are reasons why people want to keep their status private or quiet but these events do allow positive people to show the public that the virus doesn’t change the fact they’re normal people, they go out, they drink… they get hangovers.
Testing and Treatment are the only two weapons we currently have against HIV but the stigma attached to the virus can cause difficulties encouraging people to test. These increases the potential for positive people who don’t know their status to avoid testing, they don’t receive treatment and they’re more likely to unknowingly infect others – the virus spreads.
All causes benefit when their communities interact with society, when they are visible and when the people affected stand up and prove they are as human as everyone else. You can’t put a price on the worth of a human face, they’re necessary to engage and create an emotional attachment. People deliver stories and imprint on people far more than statistics, facts and figures can ever hope to.
People have become wired to believe that when something is kept hidden it’s bad, a dirty secret, and something shameful. HIV is none of those things. The virus might be invisible to us but this doesn’t mean people living with HIV should be too.