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Why Should I Care About Stigma?

Often times the stigma attached to having HIV/AIDS is as bad as actually having the disease. The range of off the wall theories about HIV/AIDS is amazing. I have heard some things that have absolutely amazed me. I have heard stories that made my heart ache. This much controversy hasn't been raised since Christianity.

Why? Only because it is one of the greatest epidemics in the 21st century. It is the most misunderstood diseases around. So many misconceptions exist about how the disease is transmitted, what the disease does, who the disease affects and what it means to those who are infected.

HIV/AIDS has been known as the "dirty" disease and the "gay" disease" for far too long. While it is true that homosexuals have a higher transmission rate than heterosexual individuals;this is no longer a "gay" disease. The CDC reports that heterosexual contact is the second highest rate of transmission in the United States;consequentially, followed by injection drug use.

The stigma affects those that don't have HIV/AIDS just as much as it affects those who do have the virus. The stigma keeps people in the dark. It perpetuates ignorance instead of pushing the facts. It feeds stereotypes and biases.

I have heard of people who think that you can catch HIV/AIDS from touching. I heard a story of a woman who wasn't allowed to ride in a car next to a baby because the mother was afraid that if the HIV infected woman touched the baby on its soft spot; the baby would contract HIV. In 2011, we still have people who think that HIV/AIDS can be passed through saliva.

There is too much knowledge and facts out there for people to remain uninformed. However, the only way the facts can reach people is one person at a time. The silence surrounding HIV/AIDS is deadly. We have to stop being afraid to talk about HIV/AIDS. we have to tell our friend, family and loved ones the facts; not continue to spread rumor.

You can start the trend. Share this site with people that you know. Silence=Death. Sharing information is not an admission of anything besides knowledge. Share this information with your children and teenagers. They may not want to hear about it but with HIV/AIDS infecting 17,983 cumulative estimated number of AIDS diagnoses through 2009 for the ages of 0-19 years old...they need to know the truth.

Remember: Get Educated.... Be Protected....Stay ALIVE!

For statistics on HIV/AIDS infection in the United States, please visit:
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm#hivaidsexposure

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