Few diseases have been more misunderstood, feared and reviled than HIV and AIDS. HIV leads to a large amount of illness and many deaths, but it’s especially unique from most other diseases because there is stigma and discrimination surrounding those affected with the disease. Public awareness is on the rise, because television shows and films featuring compassionate, nuanced portrayals of people with HIV and AIDS have helped change hearts and minds about the conditions.
Still, I have the feeling that it’s difficult for the media to show people with HIV/AIDS, because of the stigma around it. Why is almost every other disease shown in television soaps and why do we see a mix of different cultures and people with different sexual preferences in those same soaps, but they are hardly ever showing someone with HIV? The transmission of HIV is extremely preventable and the media is a very effective and strong way to convey this information. The media can teach people about the disease in a way they can easily adapt in their personal lives.
For over thirty years the specter of AIDS has haunted the world and for instance devastated the gay and African American communities in the United States. We already came a long way, but we still have so much to learn about HIV and AIDS, and that’s why organizations like Designers against AIDS are working to help overcome the stigma. And we are doing a pretty awesome job, don’t you think?