Join us as we commemorate World AIDS Day on Friday 12/01 @ 7:00 p.m. with a candlelight vigil. We'll also have a few speakers and several members of the clergy representing various faith denominations and traditions.
Representatives from AIDS Resource and ACT UP Central PA will be present to answer any questions you may have. We'll also be speaking about a number of things. This is a great opportunity to network!
In the spirit of World AIDS Day, Pastor Brad Walmer and his congregation at New Covenant United Church of Christ are inviting others to join them for a service of hope and remembrance. You are welcome to come forward at any time to light a candle in honor or memory of someone. The service will start at 11:00 am, and following the service, you are welcome to remain in the sanctuary for a time of private meditation and prayer. Afterwards, join everybody in the lobby for a time of fellowship and light refreshments.
On September 27, 2017, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) commemorated National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day by issuing a "Dear Colleague" letter. This letter addressed advances that have been made in HIV prevention and treatment regarding gay and bisexual men, as well as areas where improvements need to be made. One of the key takeaways is this paragraph:
AIDS Resource is offering a FREE monthly PrEP clinic for people who are at high risk of contracting HIV.
Often, I find others using terms or expressions that are outdated, inaccurate, and/or insensitive when referring to, or describing, persons living with HIV or HIV in general. These terms only serve to further feed the HIV stigma that pervades our communities. This article is to serve as guidance on preferred versus stigma-inducing language for individuals, educational institutions, groups or organizations, and the media.
Stigma, for the purpose of this article, is defined as: prejudice or negative attitudes toward persons living with HIV. Stigma occurs when a person or a group of people are devalued because they are associated with a certain disease, behavior or practice.1 It can result in persons living with HIV being insulted, rejected, gossiped about and excluded from social activities.2 In other words, stigma can directly lead to discrimination. Whether this is intended or not, the end result is the same. So, let us commit to using appropriate language when describing persons living with HIV, and to kinder communities.
Using preferred language is important in dispelling myths and addressing the stigma surrounding HIV. It's also important to note that stigma also leads many persons to not get tested for HIV. We won't truly know the extent to which HIV impacts our communities until this issue is properly addressed and education efforts are scaled up, leading to increased testing. Increased testing will lead to discovering more persons living with HIV who don't yet know their HIV status. This will, naturally, result in retaining those persons in medical care, which science has proven will prevent new infections due to TasP(treatment as prevention). I'll address that topic, as well as PrEP(pre-exposure prophylaxis), in future articles.