Anyone who engages in risky sexual behavior should take extra precautions, be it through PrEP or otherwise. While I'm certain that the WHO acknowledges this, their message nevertheless helps perpetuate the falsehood of HIV being a "gay disease."
While driving back from Neshaya Secondary School in Makwa, Zimbabwe, I sat, staring out into the African sky at the rural homesteads that were loosely arranged throughout the land, built from logs, mud and thatch.
While the level of danger has waned over the past three decades, the threat of HIV still remains. Unlike the generations first affected by the virus, the millennial age is now armed a wealth of information and a variety of prevention tools to change the course of HIV for good.
HIV-related stigma is worse than ever. Not the external kind, where a society is panicked about the new plague. Thankfully, the days of being shunned by hospital orderlies or funeral homes are over. But I'd prefer that kind of stigma over today's internal stigma, where a community shuns its own.
The theme, "I Am My Brother's and Sister's Keeper - Fight HIV/AIDS!" calls on us to preserve and strengthen the health and well-being of our people by caring for and about one another and working together to reduce the disproportionately high rate of HIV/AIDS in the black community.
You see, you're more than a number. You're a living miracle, a breath of fresh air. You have hopes and ambitions. You dream. You hurt. You cry. You love. You are intricately weaved in the plot line of humanity's story and I, for one, am glad you're alive.
I'm sure that my HIV-positive friends have some down days like everybody else. But what I see in them is a passionate push to move forward and get past the bad stuff. There's a courage, an optimism, and a strength, oddly coupled with a sweet vulnerability that, quite frankly, I find attractive.
Who are you to call me a victim? Ever hear of the Denver Principles? In the early 1980s, a group defining themselves as the People With AIDS Caucus rejected the word "victim," and HIV-positive people still do. I am not a victim, nor is my virus a burden to me any more than it is to you.
The HIV/AIDS community has many heroes. Our best-known heroes range from celebrities and activists to politicians and researchers. But I believe that the overwhelming majority of our heroes are in our midst. The people on this year's list may not consider themselves heroes, but we do.
If you are HIV-positive, I suggest that you embrace it with all its challenges and take a chance on disclosure. The pent-up stress released by living, having a smile on your face and moving forward is worth no longer hiding -- and it can't hurt your T cell count.