stigma /noun/

a negative and unfair set of beliefs that a group of people have about something or someone

STIgma /noun/

A negative and unfair set of beliefs that I or society have about HIV and other STIs which prevents open conversations about sexual health and lead to a lack of knowledge, less access to care, irregular testing and even social isolation

What’s the Impact?

At work, a man living with HIV started finding Clorox wipes and other cleaning supplies around his work space when he informed co-workers about his HIV status.

A long-term survivor of HIV was too afraid to touch his mother as she was dying because the stigma around HIV made him feel as though he was a dangerous person, as though he was a threat. He believed he was a monster and that he was not good enough to help his mother as she was dying.

A woman of color at Higher Ground often expresses frustration over women with HIV being constantly sexualized (and hyper-sexualized) by the public.

Stop & Shop

Keep your summer to stop STIgma going all year around with a t-shirt that tells the world you may be fun…but you aren’t playing around with STIgma.

In partnership with Bonfire, you can choose from five colorful prints across a wide array of shirts and tank-tops for all gender identities and expressions.

Tips for having “The Talk”

About getting tested…

With Friends

“Have you ever gotten tested before?”
“What if we all went together?”
“I heard that the most common STI symptom is no symptom”

With A Date

“Let’s go get tested together!”
“People who take charge of their health are sexy”
“If we know, then we won’t be as worried- that sounds more fun to me”

With Your Kid

“If you are having sex, then getting tested needs to be a part of your health routine- just like regular dental check-ups”
“This might seem awkward to you, but I care about your health enough to ask if you are getting tested regularly”
“I heard the most common STI symptom is no symptom at all- it is important to get tested”

About sex..

With Friends

“I am a safe person to talk to.”
“I hope we can support one another when we make healthy sexual choices-even if those choices look different”
“I am hear to listen if you need me”

With Your Kid

“I am a safe person to talk to.”
“I want you to make safe, smart decisions about sex.”
“Your body is a wonderful, beautiful thing and you are meant to enjoy it.”
“If you have questions about sex or your sexuality I want to help you find the answers”
“Your body belongs to you. Someone should never touch you in a way you don’t want to be touched”

With Your Family

“My choices are mine to make.”
“I hope we can support one another when we make healthy sexual choices- even if those choices look different”
“I hope sex can be something we have an open dialogue about in order to promote health and happiness in our family”

About your status…

With Your Family

“I found out some news about my health I want to share with you”
“I’m in need of your support right now
“Let’s learn about treatment and medication together. We don’t have to give up hope.”
“I’m still the same person that you always loved.”

With Your Friends

“I know that I can tell you practically anything, so I wanted to let you know about my health.”
“If friends had more conversations about STI status, I bet we’d find other people with similar experiences.”
“I’m still ME–I’m still the same friend that I always was. My status doesn’t affect that.”

With Your Partner

“I know we value honesty and openness in this relationship and I feel that I can trust you”….
“ Or I know you love me for me and I want to be honest about all parts of me”

What you can do now!

Together, we can Stop the STIgma.

Share your time at events, in our office, or at Higher Ground and connect to the community.

Enjoy our summer-styled Stop the STIgma collection all year long by picking up a shirt for you and your friends!

Show your support—financial or food—to make a future free from HIV.