Movies that can fuel stigma and ignorance/Las películas que pueden alimentar el estigma y la ignorancia

As I sat with my wife, Lisa, and watched Dallas Buyers Club, I was like 'wow! what wonderful actors!' They really did a good job! And it was part of history. I lived through most of that in those times when this condition was known as GRID, or a condition for prostitutes or drug users. But nothing touches Philadelphia for me. :) It was a very deep movie and it touched me deeply! I guess it is a matter of taste, not taking anything away from DBC.

I was thinking that night after we watched the movie and reading one of the many thousands of emails I get from all over the world and from all ages… A girl that is 17 years old living in the USA told me that I inspired her to get tested and she wanted to know if HIV was in fluids as well. My jaw dropped!! And I answered, “Hun, of course it is! This is in fluids…semen, vaginal fluids, blood and breast milk.” This is not the first time I’ve gotten asked these things. Many, many times teens, and even adult,s think that HIV is transmitted through blood only because it lives in the blood. OMG so much lack of education! This made me think…we are in deep shit here!

Not only are these kids not getting proper education about sex, but they also continue to see in movies the same thing...mostly gay men with HIV, drugs and sometimes prostitutes. It doesn’t process to them until they see people like me or anyone that is not in the category of what it is always shown in HOLLYWOOD! I don’t know...this is my impression. HIV happens to all of us, I tell them! They don’t have the information! No one wants to talk about sex in school or at home! They think the most important thing (at least for girls) is not to get pregnant, and they don’t know how real HIV is and that it continues to spread like wildfire! Why can’t I speak about CONDOMS in school?? WHY?? Why can’t I be explicit in telling them exactly how they can get HIV and other STIs or STDs however you want to call them? I am not allowed! Why is there no sex ed in schools anymore? :( This is devastating!

The people that are being diagnosed refuse to come out of the HIV closet and they are afraid of stigma. They feel shame. Others like me decided to come out and share our stories because we can’t continue to sit back even if we are judged and maybe even discriminated against. Some tell me that they don’t care who they infect and won’t disclose because of fear and that it’s others’ responsibility as well to use a condom!! Ummmm, most people do not have a lot of knowledge about HIV unless you have been infected or affected! :( They continue to think that they will know if someone is 'NOT CLEAN'" as they say!

Something must be done about this! All of us have to do our part! The ones like me that are infected have to either come out of the HIV closet for the good of others or at least use protection and take your meds so the risk is minimal. PARENTS! Please talk to your kids about sex! Please…you could be saving their lives! And we must have open discussions about sex in schools! If this happens, I believe that we can make a change and maybe get to zero infections like the whole world wants!

I asked my niece, “Do you know who Ryan White or Magic Johnson is?” She is 13 and they do not know. She just knows her tía (aunt) has HIV and I am educating her! It is sad that almost 30 plus years with HIV and people still think that HIV only affects who we see in the movies! Gay men as I said, prostitutes and drug users like in the movie, GIA. And the other movies that have shown a family or women with HIV have not had much impact on the youth. :(  I am glad Dallas Buyers Club put HIV on the map again! But, again it started with a man getting high, being promiscuous and having sex with a drug user…I know that many of us got HIV like that...and that is ok. But the youth seem to think that this is the only way that you will get HIV, and as I said they do not even know if HIV is in fluids??? WTH? Another lady wrote me and told me she thinks she has HIV because she bled during sex. I mean really?? People in the health field have lack of info as well in many aspects, and I will touch on that in the future... For now we must all get together if we want to sop the spread of HIV.

---------------

Cuando me senté con mi esposa Lisa para ver El Club Compradores de Dallas (Dallas Buyers Club), yo estaba en shock, qué actores maravillosos. Realmente hicieron un buen trabajo! Y fue parte de la historia. Eso lo viví através de la mayor parte de mi diagnostico en lo que esta enfermedad era conocida como GRID o una condición de prostitutas o drogadictos. Pero, nada toca a Filadelfia para mí :) Fue una película muy profunda y me tocó profundamente! Supongo que es una cuestión de gustos, no quitándole nada la película BDC.

Estaba pensando esa noche después de que vimos la película y uno de los muchos miles de correos electrónicos que recibo de todo el mundo y de todas las edades… Una chica que tiene 17 años de edad residente en los EE.UU. me dijo que la inspire a hacerse la prueba y ella quería saber si era VIH estaba en los fluidos. COMO??? Me quedé boquiabierta! Y yo le contesté “Amor...por supuesto que lo esta! Esto son los fluidos, la sangre, semen, fluidos vaginales y la leche materna.” Esta no es la primera vez que me escriben estas cosas. Muchas, muchas veces los adolescentes e incluso los adultos piensan que el VIH se transmite a través de sangre solo porque vive en la sangre. OMG tanto la falta de educación! Esto me hizo pensar...estamos en profunda mierda aquí!

No sólo son estos chicos no hay una educación adecuada sobre SEXO…pero, también siguen viendo en las películas la misma cosa! Los hombres gay con VIH, las drogas y tal vez incluso las prostitutas. No procesa en ellos hasta que vean la gente como yo o cualquier persona que no está en la categoría de lo que siempre se muestra en HOLLYWOOD! No sé…esta es mi impresión. El VIH nos pasa a todos nosotros! Ellos no tienen la información! Nadie quiere hablar sobre el sexo en la escuela o en casa! Ellos piensan que lo más importante (al menos para las niñas) es no quedar embarazada y ellos no saben qué tan real es el VIH y que continúa las infecciones como reguero de pólvora! ¿Por qué no puedo yo hablar acerca de los condones en la escuela? ¿POR QUÉ? ¿Por qué no puedo ser explícita y decir exactamente cómo se puede contraer el VIH y otras infecciones de transmisión sexual o ETS cómo quieran llamarlos? No se me permite! ¿Por qué no se educación sexual en las escuelas más? Esto esta muy mal!

Las personas que están siendo diagnosticados se niegan salir del closet del VIH y tienen miedo del estigma y sienten vergüenza. Otros como yo decidimos salir y compartir nuestras historias, porque no podemos seguir sentados, incluso si se nos juzga y tal vez incluso discriminados. Algunos me dicen que no les importa que se infectan los de mas y por miedo no dicen que tienen VIH antes de tener sexo y que es la responsabilidad de cada quien! La mayoría de la gente no tiene una gran cantidad de conocimiento sobre el VIH a menos que haya sido infectado o afectado! Siguen pensando que van a saber si alguien "No es limpio", como dicen!

Hay que hacer algo al respecto! Todos nosotros tenemos que hacer nuestra parte! Los que, como yo, que están infectados que salimos del closet del VIH para el bien de los demás, o al menos usen protección y tomen sus medicamentos para que el riesgo sea mínimo. PADRES! Por favor hablen con sus hijos sobre el sexo! Por favor…usted podría salvarles la vida a sus hijos! Y debemos tener discusiones abiertas sobre sexo en las escuelas! Si esto sucede, podemos hacer un cambio y quizás llegar a cero infecciones, como todo el mundo quiere!

Le pregunté a mi sobrina “¿Sabes quién es Ryan White, el niño que tenia VIH por medio de una transfusión de sangre en los 80s y que era muy visible y un héroe o Magic Johnson el jugador de Basketball?” Ella tiene 13 años y no sabia. Ella sólo conoce a su tía y que ella tiene el VIH y la estoy educando! Es triste que casi 30 años y pico con el VIH y la gente todavía piensa que el VIH afecta a quien vemos en las películas! Los hombres gay como dije, las prostitutas y los usuarios de drogas como GIA (la modelo famosa que murió). Y las otras películas que han mostrado una familia o las mujeres con el VIH no han tenido impacto en la juventud. :( Me alegro de Club de Compradores de Dallas y que puso el VIH en el mapa otra vez! Pero, de nuevo empieza la pelicula con un hombre promiscuo teniendo relaciones sexuales y muestra el uso fuerte de drogas. Sé que muchos de nosotros cojimos el VIH así…y eso esta bien. Pero los jóvenes parecen pensar que esta es la única manera que cojeran el VIH y como ya he dicho que no saben si el VIH se encuentra en los fluidos??? WTH? Otra señora me escribió y me dijo que ella tiene VIH porque ella sangro durante el sexo. Que falta de información! :( Quiero decir también que las personas en los campos de la salud tienen mucha falta de información, así en muchos aspectos tocare esto en el futuro... Por ahora todos debemos juntarnos si queremos erradicar la propagación del VIH.

Love and light/Mucho amor y la luz,

Maria T Mejia

Tags: 

like0

Comments

Jeff Hammond's picture

good stuff. have you ever thought about doing a quick HIV-101 video to share with those inquisitive people? something like at the max 4 minutes covering the body fluids and transmission. then closing with the get tested to be sure message.
with all the lives you touch i kinda think you got their attention long enough to read your blog and respond, they should be open to a video about prevention done by you.

like0

Mariatmejia's picture

very good idea Jeffy <3 and I will make a bilingual l vlog about this :) love and light

like0

sonyamallard's picture

Keep up the awesome work you are doing Maria for HIV/AIDS...educating, sharing, and revealing your heart to the world and being that face that reminds all of us....yes, it could happen to me! #real talk

like0

Mariatmejia's picture

SonyaaaaaThank you!! I have been trying to message you back and it doesnt let me on FB..can you write on my wall. and YES!! it can happen to us all..the human race xo

like0

Mariatmejia's picture

gracias por leer xoxoxo

like0

Mariatmejia's picture

.

like0

Mariatmejia's picture

tried to reply hun :) ty for reading...I responded to you above..wouldnt let me do it

love and light

like0

Mariatmejia's picture

Oh and I agree..I was infected in 89 and I lived through those times . and as I mentioned I am glad they put HIV on the map..but, at the same time I get around 1000 emails a day from people all over the world..most are young people and half are HIV negative..they still think that people with HIV/AIDS look like that and that it is a gay mans e disease,for IV drug users or for prostitutes..yes many that have HIV are gay me, ex drug usersy/or active drug users or working males or females..and it that is ok..but , they must understand the ways of transmission and that HIV is all of us ( HUmans ) and it takes 1 time of unprotected sex <3 I got it from my first boyfriend at the age of 16....this is the reality and if we want zero infections we must all do our part relentlessly . much love and light <3

like0

Linda &quot;Skeeter&quot; Sidle's picture

This movie brought back so many memories of the dying years. I was in tears at the end just thinking of all the friends I've lost. Most of all this movie took a look at ALL the demographics of this disease. It took away the 'gay disease' and replaced it with a disease of the human body and soul. The stigma, the way it crosses all strata of human life was well represented. I can remember hearing about buyers clubs. It also demonstrated how we grabbed at anything that would keep us alive. It showed how AZT was one day the miracle and the next day the hangman's noose. I praise God I've made it this far.
I did my first panel six weeks after I diagnosed and just finished one in Florida last month. I wish I would be invited to do more. But I won't hide anymore. We've grown.

like0

kari's picture

I am glad they finally made a movie about people living with HIV and AIDS and not just gay men or straight women! The diversity was wonderful and needed for education! Apparently, from some viewer commments unappreciated!
I am with you, there is such a Gap in the Education field that it is literally making teens sick! We want to teach them but we are being refused! I will also echo your words about the Health Department...they say they know so why arent they doing anything? They are always too busy doing something else.
So, I will take this movie because I can relate to Ron story and how he was infected and I use this movie as as a learning tool. I show people how sick I was, i explain to thrm that the actions of his friends are still very real today, as well as the fight for your meds and insurance, one of my favorite parts to point out is when Ron and Rayon Hug! this virus opened Rons heart liked it does to many people....that is a Beautiful thing! HIV is a Human Virus it will infect anyone!

Great Movie! Great Article!

like0

leticia calvillo's picture

GRACIAS..... MARIA POR TODAS ESTAS PALABRAS, LAS CUALES TIENEN UNA GRAN INFORMACION.

like0

Bob Hunley's picture

I just wanted to check in Maria and hope you are ok. You don't seem like a woman who likes to be fussed about but I worry about you. Sorry. Bob

like0

Bob Hunley's picture

Well just because I'm coming up on 17 years sobriety doesn't mean I don't get hit with crippling depression. And now Maria you haven't acknowledged me when I was just checking in on your well being. It's ok I won't bother . Very sAd now , I don't even want to wake up. Bob

like0

Bob Hunley's picture

So sorry you did respond back. My mistake. Sorry Maria. I was worried and I'm deeply depressed right now so I'm sensitive... Touchy. I'm relieved ur ok. Bob Hunley.

like0

Blog themes: 

Do you get our newsletter?

admin's picture

Sign up for our monthly Newsletter and get the latest info in you in box.

seventh name

The 2012 WRI meeting focused on contextualizing women's lives: enhancing HIV research and care for women living with and at risk for HIV disease.

Get basic information on what safer sex is and is not, how to practice different forms of safer sex, and tips on thinking things through ahead.

Get the information you need when starting treatment – choosing a drug regimen, adherence, resistance, taking your pills, side effects, and more.

Browse Blogs by Theme