Kelly's Blog

What can YOU do to stop HIV?

Posted in Community, News, Prevention on Monday, August 2nd, 2010 by Kelly - 2 Comments


I’d like to take credit for asking that question, but Lorraine Teel, Executive Director of the Minnesota AIDS Project, asked it in an op-ed piece last week in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Here is the link to read her article:

Lorraine lays out some very valid points about the Obama National AIDS Strategy. No more tip toeing around “language that may be perceived as not politically palatable”. Anyone can be infected by HIV, but the truth is that not everyone is at equal risk. Resources and messages need to be targeted at the groups most affected.

She also points out that controlling HIV, like many other public health threats, has no easy “one size fits all” solution.  It is just not the same message to young heterosexuals as it may be to gay males.

But Lorraine nails it when she talks about how in the real world we live in, we take risks, and we make mistakes. We have to live with the consequences of those mistakes.

The difference here is that we look at HIV infection differently than other risk behaviors like smoking, driving too fast and binge drinking.  Lorraine notes with HIV, it is always someone else’s fault. People point fingers and assign blame and rarely does that include themselves.

We treat HIV differently that other risk behaviors like smoking, overeating, and binge drinking, yet each of these have dire consequences. Why is dying from clogged arteries that we contributed to so much more acceptable than HIV? Because we don’t approve of the behavior that lead to the problem?

Or is it that perhaps most of us haven’t experienced a known behavior that puts you at risk for HIV? This is what the readers of her piece had to say in the comments written on the Star Tribune web site. I hope you would all read what she wrote and take the time to comment responsibly. I know that I did. The comments that were on the site show why HIV is still such a challenge across this country.

We will be sharing more in my next few blog posts about doing what WE can to stop HIV. In the meantime, I hope you will join me on Twitter for our One Dad Against HIV campaign to join 10,000 Twitter voices together.

So, as Lorraine says it, the next time you point that finger – turn it around and ask yourself, “What have I done today to stop HIV?”

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