Showing the REALITY about HIV & AIDS


Showing the REALITY about HIV & AIDS

Over the past week, I have seen three articles seemingly angry with how HIV photo & ad campaigns show good looking guys, able bodied people & smiling faces. The articles seem to want to show that HIV is a dreaded disease and we should not be suggesting that it is a light issue, that it is in fact a death sentence.

Majority of the Cases

Do they actually have the figures of how much cases are in the AIDS stage? Do they actually know how much of the cases are in the so-called terminal stage?   Should People living with HIV (PLHIV) be sad and devastated because they have to deal with HIV for the rest of their lives?   Have we any right to tell PLHIVs what they should and should not feel?

In the same manner,  do these people campaign against cigarettes, drugs and alcohol and the supposed effects these may have— or the ads these companies have on billboards, prints and TV commercials?

Light materials

In a recent focused group discussion prior to a photo shoot, it was said that shoots should be light, no frowning, no red ribbons, no angry moods.  I can’t help but wonder,  the reality that some people want in the shoots to come out — where people are dying from AIDS-related illnesses…


Test campaigns showing smiling people.  How do we want to encourage HIV testing? By showing them a few people who died of alleged AIDS-related illnesses? Invoking fear does not promote HIV testing and treatment the proper way.   Someone in fear might take the test and then what?

Social Media fuss about Alleged AIDS –related Deaths

These are allegations, but judgment and stigma will always label them as such.  Were they really HIV positive? They died already, what else do we want? Could they have been cases of late or non-diagnosis?  Could they have been cases of neglected treatment or the so-called “lost to follow up”?  If at all they were HIV positive, again:


People do get Opportunistic Infections (O.I.s)

Yes.  A few of those living with HIV did get infections.  Majority of them recovered and are living normal lives now.  Do we want them to linger on to the days when they fought for their lives and use these pictures to encourage people to take the test or else, DIE?!

Normal lives.  It’s sad that one article is saying that PLHIVs can no longer live normal lives—that HIV is equal to Death, since after all they’re left with a lifetime antiretroviral drugs to deal with.   The same article was asking to list down all the O.I.s in the campaigns.

Again, invoking fear.

The same article questioned AIDS-related death rates, asking whether living long with HIV is a “general” fact, or does it apply to a few?

The same article asked for TRUTH-BASED CAMPAIGN, I say let’s go for evidence-based approach. Nothing wrong with the truth, but if with the so-called truth comes fear, why not promote them in a positive manner and support them with programs on HIV response?

This same article claimed that many patients are not responding well to ARVs. And that there’s too much cases of diarrhea in the HIV community. Where’s the evidence?  How much of the thousands of Filipino ARV-takers does this person know for him to tell the world that “many” are not responding well to ARV.  What? He knows 10? 20? 100 patients who have had treatment failure?  Even in treatment failure, there are reasons to be taken into account.  And even a hundred patients is not a figure big enough to account for the majority of the successful ARV stories in the PLHIV community.

He said he knows many patients who are NOT happy with HIV.

We may not be all happy with HIV, but we have to deal with having HIV. We have to live with HIV.  What does this person want? Live in misery with HIV?  Living normally with HIV is a phrase that is very subjective.  How we define our normal lives is not anyone’s definition to make but ours alone.

This is me being judgmental

How has this person reached out to these people that he claimed he knows to be living with HIV? Seriously, if you were diagnosed with HIV, would you want to come near this kind of person?   A man who tells people that HIV drained you of your right to live a quality life. A man who tells people that HIV = DEATH.

How much has this person reached?  Does this person care about the quality of life of people driven to and in fear to take the test, to live with HIV and to his insinuation, to die in “HIV-AIDS”?

But where are they coming from?

Where do articles like these come from?  I see the goal of the articles of wanting to get people tested and I see what the writers want. What I am hoping for is that they see the processes  involved. Dig deeper. Especially if these are well-respected (assuming) writers,  I can only hope more evidences are put into the articles. More evidences, Less stigma.  But these are my hopes. My wishes.  I do not know why these people came out with such statements.

I may never fully know what inspired these people, what I fully know is that their output hurt.  It hurt the community, the advocacy and those living with HIV.


About +daddy+drEw+

HIV awareness and treatment Advocate & Activist. Living with HIV since 2007. A friend. A partner. A dad to the HIV Community.
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