I’m Thankful for Letting Go of Internal Stigma

On Thanksgiving we all think about what we are thankful for. I am so thankful everyday for everything wonderful in my life, from my good health, supportive family and friends, to my kitty rubbing up against me for a little affection. I have a great deal to be grateful for after sixteen years of living well with HIV.  But, when I received this U=U photo yesterday from the person who designed it, it set off a whole new wave of gratitude. I stared at my photo and the message surrounding it and thought, now this is huge, and I give thanks. I am so grateful that I am no longer harboring the internal stigma that years ago would not have allowed me to put such a frame around my picture. I am thankful for U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable) because it has been a boost to my self-esteem and on the worthiness meter my numbers are off the chart! Knowing that I am not a threat to anyone makes me feel somewhat “normal” and helps to let go of the internal stigma, that’s a lot to be thankful for.  U=U is based on science and not fear and explains that if a person living with HIV is in treatment and maintains an undetectable viral load then that person can not transmit HIV. For more information go to: https://www.preventionaccess.org

Over the year or so that I have learned about U=U there have been many who doubted the science of it. A person who works in the HIV field told me that U=U was unreliable information but didn’t have time to look at the prevention access website that I referred. But now that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) is also saying undetectable equals untransmittable, I give thanks. https://www.hivplusmag.com/undetectable/2017/9/27/breaking-cdc-officially-recognizes-undetectableuntransmittable-hiv-prevention

Along with this statement from the CDC  I now have the ammunition that I need to have a conversation with any skeptic of U=U, who more than likely wouldn’t dispute the CDC, like they would me. I also plan to bring up the subject of U=U at my next doctor’s appointment and I feeling more confident to do so.


I would like to acknowledge and express my gratitude to the following organizations who have also helped me and continue to assist me in adjusting and thriving with living with HIV.

AIDS Law Project of Philadelphia http://www.aidslawpa.org
BEBASHI http://www.bebashi.org
Philadelphia FIGHT https://fight.org
Positive Women’s Network https://www.pwn-usa.org

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”—Albert Schweitzer

U=U Photo Frame Designs by Zee Strong—Thank you!




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