Through education and conversation, we can spark action that brings awareness and support to People Living With HIV.
As defined by the World Health Organization1, health inequities are systematic differences in the health status of different groups of people. Because of the historic effects of racism2, the color of your skin can be a determinant of your access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes.
In the United States, Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ communities are disproportionally affected3 by HIV. Health inequities play a role and have an impact on:
Medical mistrust is a lack of trust with the healthcare system, healthcare providers, or medicine in general.13 This mistrust has been a big challenge for the LGBTQ+ community in starting and sticking with HIV treatment.14 Health inequities give medical mistrust and HIV stigma more power and can stop people from getting diagnosed.15
HIV stigma is the negative attitudes and beliefs about People Living With HIV.15
Stigma is considered by some to be a health inequity, as it can lead to less people being tested or treated. It makes it harder to talk about drug use or risky sexual behavior with your doctor.16
Patients are often more comfortable having open and honest conversations with doctors who share their same race, ethnicity, or orientation. But because diversity among doctors is limited, it can lead to mistrust in doctor-patient relationships.19
“Medical mistrust is an opportunity to stop and have conversations. We need to be self-advocates...and take our power back.” ~ Octavia Lewis MPA, Advocate, Positively Fearless Ambassador
Self-advocacy is speaking up for our own needs and taking action to make sure those needs are met. Being honest makes it easier for us to find the right support from friends, family, and healthcare providers.
“[My physician] didn't know how to provide hormonal care to trans patients. She was very transparent about it, and I loved that about her. She did her homework, she was diligent, and it was a journey we went on together.” ~ Octavia Lewis, USA Today
Shared decision-making is when patients work with their healthcare provider to find the right treatment for them.
Connect with HIV services like testing, resource centers and more.
Change starts with conversation. These questions will help open the dialogue between you and the important people in your life.
Something to consider:
Shared decision-making is associated with better health outcomes. 63% of patients with HIV preferred shared decision-making and were more likely to adhere to treatment.22
A new study finds that many family and friends of People Living With HIV wish they could better understand their loved one's condition. It also reveals that the resources and information isn't readily available to them.23
Reaching out to your friends can be a key step in your HIV journey. High perceived social support from friends was associated with less perceived HIV stigma.24 Even though your friends may not have all the answers on topics surrounding HIV, their support can help get you to finding the people who do.
In a study, 100% of transgender people of color surveyed described healthcare experiences that were negatively impacted because of provider responses to their race and/or gender identity.25 Bias towards race, or even perceived bias, can make it a challenge for People Living With HIV to self-advocate.