July/August #165 : If the Shirt Fits - by Willette Francis

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Table of Contents

Pay It Forward: Why the World Can’t Afford to Stop Funding AIDS

Resurrection From Rwanda

Pain, Pain, Go Away


Women on HIV treatment can have HIV-negative babies

Drug Deals

Antibiotic Sense

Sex Is Not a Crime

POZ Q&A: John Tedstrom


The China Syndrome

Ring Leaders

No Mething Around

Aerial Awareness

If the Shirt Fits

Let’s Hear It for the Boys

Editor's Letter July/August 2010


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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July / August 2010

If the Shirt Fits

by Willette Francis

Would you pretend to be HIV positive?

On March 26, the AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland (ATFGC) launched a bold 24-hour awareness campaign, during which more than 400 Clevelanders (both HIV positive and negative) wore red T-shirts emblazoned with the words 
“HIV Positive” everywhere they went throughout the day.

There was one rule, says Earl Pike, executive director of ATFGC. “If someone asked why you were wearing the shirt,” he explains, “you couldn’t say, ‘Oh no, I’m not HIV positive, I’m just wearing this as an experiment.’ You had to wear it out in the world and see what it felt like.”

The result? Many Cleveland residents started a dialogue about the virus. One group of ATFGC staff members who walked into a Starbucks were greeted with applause. Others were inspired to disclose their HIV-positive status.

While there were no outright negative reactions to people who wore the shirts, some participants said they felt a silent disapproval. “That to me is a really powerful element of stigma,” Pike says. “We talk about the overt stuff, but we don’t talk about the elephant in the middle of the room—the discomfort 
that people have [with people who are HIV positive].”

Anyone know what size T-shirt an elephant wears?  

Search: AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland, ATFGC, elephant, stigma, discussion, Starbucks, shirt, T-shirts, experiment

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Gerry, Brooklyn, 2010-07-11 08:00:49
That is so cool and so brave. This should happen in NYC.

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