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HIV/AIDS stigma remains the single most important obstacle to public action and the key to the stop the AIDS epidemic. In a conservative state like Nebraska, HIV/AIDS stigma is one of the main reasons why people are afraid to get tested or learn about ways to protect themselves. People are afraid to talk about HIV/AIDS, afraid to learn about it and, as a result, devalue and stereotype the people who live with it. People are afraid because HIV/AIDS is an unknown to them.
So let’s make it known.
Let’s tell people that HIV is a virus; it does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, skin color or how much money is in your bank account. Let’s show people that people living with HIV/AIDS are just like everyone else. They go to school, work for a living, care for their families; they struggle and succeed just like we all do. Let’s encourage our friends and partners that safe sex is sexy. Concern for your loved one’s well being is unbelievably attractive. Let’s convince our friends, families and social networks to get an HIV test at least once a year.
The conversation about HIV/AIDS is missing your voice. Speak up. Help fight the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS. Let’s change the conversation from one of fear to one of understanding. We have the opportunity to rid our community of HIV/AIDS stigma. It all starts with you.
The Nebraska AIDS Stigma Awareness Project (ASAP) is an effort to raise awareness, educate, prevent the further spread of HIV and eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. Starting on January 5, 2011, NAP is launching an awareness campaign to combat HIV/AIDS stigma. It starts with a Public Service Announcement featuring real people living with HIV. The way to combat stigma is to show the connections we share and learn about HIV/AIDS. Stigma is rooted in the irrational fear of the unknown, so let’s learn together. Let’s speak up and correct misconceptions. Let’s fight stigma and eliminate one of the roots of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. More info and more to come at Nebraska ASAP.