The Charlie Sheen Effect

10628626_10106844128338764_8110892263343075114_nToday is World AIDS Day.  For those of you who are regular readers of our blog, you are already aware that this day has particular meaning for our family.   Our dad contracted the virus just over ten years ago.  I’d encourage you to read his testimony here, which he wrote last year for our blog.  It is the story of man coming to terms with the unthinkable, what had seemed imaginable.

12243091_10153622032429718_6736510672770922874_nThe misinformation that leads to the stigma associated with this disease is astounding.  With Charlie Sheen’s recent announcement, I saw so many people condemning him because of his HIV status and hesitancy to tell people.  There are plenty of reasons for people to dislike Sheen, but contracting HIV is not one of them – nor is his hesitancy to tell people.  You are talking about a disease that many people instantly judge someone as “deserving” as soon as they hear they are HIV positive.  You are talking about a disease that immediately transforms the relationship you have with others due to the misinformation and beliefs to which  people cling.  Let’s stop judging people for their HIV status and/or their process for coming to terms themselves and sharing this deeply personal disease with others.

So, today, tomorrow, this week, take some time to educate yourself (and others).  Check your assumptions.  Check your bias.  Talk about HIV/AIDS for what it actually is, not what people think it is.  And get tested!

Here are some great 12235035_1085931931451950_1552573115885673901_nsites for more information:

World AIDS Day (official site)

Until There’s A Cure 

AIDS.Gov

Stigma Project

World Health Organization

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