What People Get Wrong About Being HIV Positive
It has been almost 40 years since the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.1 Unfortunately, there is still a lot of misinformation and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS - from the transmission of HIV to living with the chronic condition.
So we asked community advocates for H-I-V.net: What is one thing that people seem to get wrong about being HIV positive? Here are their responses!
Misconceptions about being HIV positive
"They think it is either no big deal or a complete end to one's life. It is more like an in-between. It's the death of some old ways and behaviors and, after some initial chaos, the birth of a new status quo." - Nicholas
"There’s a lot people that get wrong about living with HIV. For me, as a woman, one of the first mistruths that was co-signed by others around me, judging my “risk behaviors” was that suddenly I shouldn’t experience pleasure, much less deserve it. An HIV diagnosis may take impact on your mental health and that can, in turn, impact your desire or libido for pleasure but it doesn’t always take away the function, the feelings, or the flavor of our human experience. Stigma tries, but there are ways around that depending on what a PLHIV’s needs are. I still have needs, wants, cravings and my body responds accordingly. There are so many ways for me to experience pleasure, have amazing sex, and stay healthy while keeping my partner(s) healthy, that I do not have to deny myself just because society thinks that shame should keep me warm at night." - Kamaria
"So many people think that life as you know it is over. That you are no longer a sexual being or that you will never find love or happiness. None of that is remotely true. I don’t believe for one second that I am damaged goods or that my value as a partner or as a human is lessened in any way. Now with the privilege of hindsight, I see that my diagnosis was only the catalyst that created great change within myself that brought me to this place and helped shape the man that I am incredibly proud to be." - Kalvin
"The thing they get wrong is that they still think it can can be transmitted by being next to someone, kissing, or drinking from them. They think that we shouldn't be in relationships and think that we shouldn't have children because they may be born with HIV. They think we can still transmit HIV from having sex. They think that you have to look sick being HIV positive and say, "You don't look like you have it." There are still so many myths." - Dee
At what age were you diagnosed with HIV?