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Freedom to... live without HIV stigma

Suzi Price
27/06/2014

Tomorrow is London Pride. NAT will be there marching in the sun (we’re still hopeful). It is an amazing event and, even if it does rain, draws a huge crowd of supporters, there to celebrate successes and campaign for LGBT rights.

Tomorrow is London Pride. NAT will be there marching in the sun (we’re still hopeful). It is an amazing event and, even if it does rain, draws a huge crowd of supporters, there to celebrate successes and campaign for LGBT rights.

The theme of the day is ‘Freedom to…’. It’s a sign of how far HIV has come that we actually found the theme quite tricky. What do people living with HIV want freedom to do?  To work? As of last year there is no career that people living with HIV are barred from, simply because they have the virus. To have children? Almost all children born in the UK to HIV positive mothers don’t acquire HIV themselves. To have the treatment you need, when you need it? After NAT’s successful campaign, everyone living in England, regardless of immigration status has the right to free treatment which will save their lives. NAT will continue to argue for these rights and ensure they are realised.

So in most ways people living with HIV should be free to live their lives the same way everyone else, but this isn't always reflected in the way people are treated or in how they feel. HIV stigma still impacts on the freedom of people living with HIV. This can take many forms; from hurtful gossip and ‘jokes’, rejection from family and friend and internalised feelings of shame. Experiences of stigma are often reported as the worst part of living with HIV. It is this stigma that NAT is working to erase.

So on Saturday NAT will be marching to demand the freedom to live without HIV stigma. We hope to see you there.

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Sep 7, 2016 By hugo