Today I’m going to talk about two new campaigns created by the Greater Than AIDS organisation, a leading public information response to the HIV virus in the US that focuses on the most affected communities and is supported by big sponsors such as Elton John Aids Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund among many others.
This time, WE>AIDS came up with two additional campaigns to assist people affected by HIV: The first one is called “Obamacare & You”. That’s right; it’s got something to do with Obama or to be more precise, the Affordable Care Act federal statute signed into law by Obama. The ACA is one of the most significant overhauls of the US infamous healthcare system by increasing the quality and affordability of health insurance.
There are some important changes coming up January 1st 2014, such as that no one can be denied health insurance or be charged more because of a pre-existing health condition, such as HIV. Therefore, since there are many branches into this law, this campaign provides guidance and advice to the different groups of people divided according their insurance status.
The second campaign is called “Speak Out: Let’s Bring HIV Out of the Closet”. Here, a diverse group of gay men, some positive some negative, talk about HIV/AIDS and the taboos around the subject.
Currently, one in five gay men in US has HIV and too many don’t know it. This shows that everybody needs to be aware that HIV is there and it can knock our door any time if we don’t take care of ourselves. Therefore, we all need to be aware of the reality and unless we talk about it openly, unless we bring it out of the closet of the current social stigmas, the numbers will never go down.
Some of these men say that even in the gay community, where there are so many men infected with the virus, HIV is still discussed in whispers and one of the guys in the debate said it took him about 5 years to openly say he was HIV+. Another one got infected from his 2 year relationship because his partner never told him he had HIV so he assumed he didn’t have it just because his boyfriend didn’t want to talk about the subject.
What I’ve learnt from these two new campaigns is that knowing what to do in regards to your national health care is essential in order to get treated for HIV and for the second part, no matter whether you’re gay or not (according to Aids.org, heterosexual contact represented 27% of those infected in 2009 out of the roughly 1 million people currently living with the virus in the US), we have to start talking about HIV the same way as we talk about our job or our day to day life and never be shy to ask somebody about their status or to find out if they even know how this virus works.
Unless we stop whispering and speak out loud, there will still be millions of people suffering the virus in silence.