In case you missed it, here’s a must-read interview from WAMU about how powerful the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS is. This story is heartbreaking:
Dr. Sohail Rana is a member of Howard University’s Department of Pediatrics. As Washington, D.C., tries to reduce the incidence of HIV, Rana asks, “Is the stigma associated with HIV now worse than the disease itself?”:
Angel died last Saturday. She was 18. I was her doctor since she was four.
She used to call me Dad.
Technically, Angel died of an AIDS-related illness. The truth is, Angel died from the stigma related to HIV.
Angel contracted the disease at birth from her mother. With today’s medicine, she could have lived a long, productive life.
But many people, including her family members, made her feel dirty because of HIV. She felt rejected.
In shame, she refused to take her medication. Consequently, her HIV progressed to AIDS. The untreated AIDS led to her death.