Stereotyping, Misinformation Perpetuates Cycle Of HIV Infections

GlobalPost: When stereotypes get in the way of addressing HIV
Tracy Jarrett, a GlobalPost-Kaiser Family Foundation global health reporting fellow

“…[N]o one thought to test [my mom] for HIV, because she did not fit the stereotype [of a gay man in the early 1990s]. More than 30 years since the first case of HIV was reported in the United States, the same misinformation that prevented my mom from receiving an accurate diagnosis still runs rampant throughout the world. … Misinformation may lead people to believe they are not vulnerable to contracting the virus because they are white or have never been to Africa, Laura Bogart, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital said. … ‘Understanding what places you at risk and how to protect yourself is critical to combating the misconceptions that persist more than 30 years into this epidemic,’ CDC’s [Salina] Smith said. ‘It is important to know that if you are sexually active — you are at risk'” (3/28).

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