Having worked in the sector for years, I know that when people discovering they are HIV positive need professional counselling
Shocker, eh? Professional HIV counsellor insists that people need professional HIV counsellors. Just couldn’t see that one coming at all.
Thirty years on and that stigma still exists. Online surveys that I have taken part in show that even among gay men the level of prejudice is alarmingly high. After a three-week experiment we discovered that 90% of messages posted using profiles of men declaring themselves to be HIV positive were met either with no response at all or with a reply saying basically, “no thanks if you have HIV”. The same messages, with the same profiles but with a negative HIV status produced a completely different and welcoming response.
That’s an incredible surprise as well don’t you think? People trawling online for sex prefer to search for people who do not have a life threatening and incurable (although treatable) sexually transmitted disease.
I’m not sure that my Firday morning can stand many more such shocks.
Does anyone think that the response would be different if we were surveying hetero ads? Or if we changed the disease a bit? Syphilis? Leprosy?
It’s back to this old thing about discrimination. There is taste discrimination, something which we normally regard as being bad, even unfair. I don’t hire blacks, or women, we’ve largely made that illegal. Then there’s rational discrimination: yes, I do know that whatever the melanin content of one’s skin sun tan lotion is still a good idea, still used, but we’d not attack Johnson and Johnson for using only pinkish people in lotion ads (or those with more melanin where the target population has that). We’d think it sensible if an employer refused to hire a 6 month pregnant woman to cover for the upcoming 12 month maternity leave for the regular employee.
Similarly, considering HIV status when looking for a legover seems rational: not prejudice.
Although, as with the apocryphal story of the bloke who used to look for dates at the clap clinics: if they’re there, at least you know they do, don’t you?