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‘Prevention’ sums up HIV Foundation Qld HIV reduction campaign
Jul03

‘Prevention’ sums up HIV Foundation Qld HIV reduction campaign

CREATED ON // Thursday, 03 July 2014 Author // Andrew Shaw

The final video in a three-part series from the HIV Foundation Qld aims to shed some realness on the lives of people living with HIV in Queensland...

HIV Foundation Qld recently produced three videos that tell the stories of real people, stories told with empathy and sensitivity, providing hope and, most importantly, telling the truth about living with HIV in Australia in 2014.

Following videos on ‘Stigma’ and ‘Testing’, the final in the series is ‘Prevention’ in which HIV positive people initially talk about their experiences of being diagnosed. One woman, Michele (pictured), says she shaved her hair off, “to be as ugly as I could, so that nobody would be attracted to me and nobody would like me – because I didn’t like me.”

Michele goes on to say how she thought HIV equaled AIDS, and that she was now going to die.

Emphasising the importance of being vigilant about prevention, Nic says “a 15 minute roll in the sack” is the only difference between a positive and a negative guy.

The film explores issues around prevention, including condom use – “safe sex is a shared responsibility”, says Jesse, adding that making assumptions about HIV status just by someone’s appearance is “dangerous territory”.

While acknowledging condoms are not always popular, Nic points out that a knowledge of PEP – post exposure prophylaxis – is one way of reducing the risk of contracting the virus if you feel you have put yourself at risk. PEP is a four-week course of medication that may stop you from becoming HIV positive if you have been exposed.

Nic adds that it is just as much the responsibility of HIV negative  people to look after their sexual health as it is for positive people to contribute to safer sex.

The true personal impact of having HIV today is no longer just a medical one, it’s the social problems created by the stigma that are most crippling: issues in disclosure, rejection, depression; and impacts on family and friends of those affected.

The message of ‘Prevention’ is ultimately an upbeat one, about coming to terms with your HIV diagnosis, about continuing to lead a full and happy life. As Michele puts it: “It happened to me and it was crap, but it made me a better person. It made me a lot more appreciative of what I have, what I am and what I can do.”

WATCH the videos here.

IMAGE: Michele in 'Prevention'.

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Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw is editor of Queensland Pride.

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