Justin's HIV Journal

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Justin's HIV Journal: The Biohazard Tattoo & HIV Stigma

Last week I thought long and hard about the reason why someone would get a bio-hazard tattoo on their body, and then I asked myself why I would get one.   I decided I would get a Biohazard tattoo not because I wanted to feel better about myself being HIV positive, but it was because I felt for the people that couldn't be open about their status.  There are many reasons why a person cannot be open about their status; it could be because of their family, friends, partner/s, fear of persecution, death etc.  But a lot of these reasons come from Stigma.  Stigma of how one is treated when being open about their HIV status is very much alive and well.  I got this tattoo for those mentioned above to help fight against HIV stigma.
I'm not proud to be HIV positive but I'm proud that I can be open about my status and stand up to the faces of adversity.  This is my part that I can do and I'm not ashamed that I did it.  There are many activists that do not like the idea of this tattoo and that is okay but know that I did this not for myself but for others who cannot be open about their HIV status. Also I feel that doing this does open up the room for discussion.  From what I hear from others that have this very tattoo representing their HIV positive status, it actually opens up people to dialog about HIV and about their own status.  I also feel that people asking questions about HIV will better help with education.  I wear the tattoo but the tattoo does not wear me.