Healthline recently partnered with the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation (TRBF) to launch “You’ve Got This” – a video campaign that encourages HIV patients to give hope and advice to the recently diagnosed.
So I thought it was long overdue to introduce you to the term serophobia, which is, most simply, fear of & prejudice against people who are HIV+. Here’s a good post about what it is and why it is over at Daily Kos, and here’s another article about the ways that a blanket discrimination against having sex with people who are HIV+ just doesn’t make sense.
Those of us who are old enough remember serophobia in its most blatant form. Our next door neighbor never met a grandchild because of it – one of her sons became HIV+ and another of her sons refused to visit him or anyone else in the household – a policy he kept up for the next 20 years.
But here are some of the basic mythologies & superstitions about HIV, & even those of us who “know better” need to learn what people who are HIV+ are up against, from the Daily Kos article.
Message No. 1: HIV Is Punishment for Immorality.
Message No. 2: People With HIV Are Sexual Predators.
Message No. 3: Having HIV Makes You Undeserving of Love.
And while the author of the article is talking about Tyler Perry’s movie Temptation, specifically, those three “messages” about HIV+ people struck me as glaringly familiar. They’ve all been said about trans people, about gay people, about disabled people. All of them.
Which is food for thought. Understanding, past these three basics, as to how these ideas then manifest in public policy (attitudes such as: keep the _______ people away from children, out of our schools, or don’t house them with the rest of us, etc.) is when we all might to recognize our own internalized serophobia.