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New Effort Takes Aim at HIV Stigma in LGBTQ+ Community

Photo by Mauricio Mascaro from Pexels

The launch of the My Body, My Health leads up to National HIV Testing Day on June 27.

The Human Rights Campaign’s educational arm, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, announced on June 22 a public education campaign — My Body, My Health — to destigmatize living with HIV through partnerships with community-based organizations in the U.S.

My Body, My Health, sponsored by Gilead Sciences, is a country-wide program that will bring awareness about prevention, testing, treatment, sex positivity and providing resources for community-based organizations, according to a press release.

By working with minority populations, the foundation hopes to center the campaign on the lived experiences of Black and Latinx gay and bisexual men and trans women of color. The campaign will also address the barriers to health care these groups face.

“The disproportionate impact of HIV on Black and Latinx communities is a long-lasting health disparity that is multifaceted and fueled by an intersection of inequities and injustices, including stigma and discrimination,” said HRC president Alphonso David.

“It has been a decades-long objective of activists and advocates on the front lines to end the stigma and create a generation free of HIV — this campaign is a multi-pronged effort to reach people in their communities with the resources and tools they need,” David said.

HRC will partner with groups in six areas of the U.S. Those groups already provide HIV services to clients through testing and treatment as well as support groups and mental health resources.

My Body, My Health's launch coincides with National HIV Testing Day on June 27. The campaign has a website featuring information for LGBTQ+ people on various topics related to HIV and sexual health.

“Dealing with the consequences of racism and homophobia — job loss, homelessness, lack of health insurance — often result in marginalized communities suffering the brunt of disproportionate health outcomes across almost every epidemic,” said J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall, Director of HIV and Health Equity for HRC.

“Anti-LGBTQ bias and HIV stigma further enable the spread of HIV by discouraging many LGBTQ people from getting tested or treated for fear of harassment and violence.”

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