Stigma, when associated with HIV, another medical condition, mental illness or disability, prevents a person from seeking evaluation and treatment, disclosing the diagnosis to those most likely to provide support, and following treatment guidelines. Health related stigma destroys human dignity.
CLICK HERE to view the 2022 International Conference on Stigma Photonarrative Project. This project was organized by the Internalized Stigma Interest Group. A big thank you to all who participated!
Join us at Howard University (or virtually) on May 19, 2023 as we explore stigma, relationships, and reproductive issues, while living with sickle cell disease. Register at www.ranapediatricfund.org
We are excited to announce that our program to fight stigma for youth age 18 to 29 years with HIV, “StoryTIME” is still open for new enrollments! Mentorship and leadership and advocacy skills training included. Want to learn more? CLICK HERE
Since becoming public with my HIV status just this last fall, I find myself in a place of discovery. What does my life look like without keeping HIV a secret? How does the vulnerability uncovered become an asset to my gifts sharing in a world in much need of safe vulnerability? How do I extend to others while not lessening self care of less stimulation and information from social media? Aging with HIV- what is the best support for my own mental health?
I am grateful to Howard University, Who Can You tell? program, The Well Wisdom Project, Positive Women’s Network and more recently NAMI, “National Association for Mental Illness. These organizations provide inspiring Peer Support. Peer Support utilizes one’s life experiences as a gift to listen and share with others hopes, dreams, loss, disappointment and despair. Living with HIV for 20 years, I’ve done “therapy” many years of my life, and the exchange of Peer Support has been remarkable. Peer Support is an exchange between peers with similar lived experience. These “undesirable” experiences strengthen personal resilience to be an ally for others that are experiencing difficulty. I don’t have to have the exact experience of another to have common feelings of separateness, despair, not being enough, or without community. Peer Support holds space for another’s challenges, sees them as a worthy human being, and knows they have capacity to live life with joys and grief, and that there is hope in living a more joyful life.