Date added: 24/10/2018
The National Association of People With HIV Australia (NAPWHA) and Femfatales—the National Network of Women Living With HIV—join other
HIV positive organisations to scorn the email circulated last Thursday suggesting that the Independent candidate for Wentworth, Kerryn Phelps,
is HIV positive and therefore withdrawing her candidacy.
“This is ridiculous on so many fronts,” said Femfatales Convenor, Katherine Leane “HIV in 2018 is far from the horror story it once was.
People living with HIV are now able to take a simple daily treatment which not only prevents them from getting sick but also renders the virus untransmittable.
Since 1996, Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) has been widely adopted to control HIV infection. At first a potent concoction of various drugs, it now has been refined to a simple, single daily dosage.
“The suggestion that HIV would be the catalyst to remove or prevent someone from pursuing a career in public office is ludicrous,” Leane said. “There is absolutely no reason why people with HIV would not make exceptional politicians.”
However there may be other reasons behind the stigmatising email.
"Indirect or hidden gender bias is often utilised as a strategy to disempower women and silence them,” Leane suggests.
“What Femfatales finds highly offensive is the implication that due to a person’s HIV status they could be considered incapable of performing in the work place. This ridiculous myth further fuels an outdated perception about people with HIV that adds to unwarranted discrimination and negative stigma.”
“What is also disturbing is that HIV is still so misunderstood,” she said.
HIV is still a marginalised disease. Perceived as something that affects only gay men and people who use drugs, the reality is that globally women are the most affected group.
“People with HIV have long battled the stigma associated with this disease,” said NAPWHA President, Cipriano Martinez.
“We had hoped this sort of thing was over,” he said. “What it highlights is the ignorance still out there.”
Date Added: 29/5/2018
In response the recent information about the drug Dolutgravir and the potential risk of birth defects for the foetus of women who are living with HIV who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant, the Team at Positive Women Victoria would like to remind our members that they should be informed and alert but not alarmed.
The take-home message from all of the various articles must be that if you are worried about any issues to do with your physical health and/or your medication, consult your health professional.
For more information about Dolutegravir and the recent findings, please refer to the link below.