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The photo that brought AIDS home

In honor of World AIDS Day, CNN Health featured a slideshow of photos that held great significance for the history of AIDS in America. The featured photo was of AIDS victim David Kirby in his final moments, surrounded by family.

The photo was taken in November of 1990 by Therese Frare, who was a graduate student at the time.

While photos such as this one are often difficult to see, it is important to represent the history of HIV/AIDS through many mediums. This photo helped bring compassion and understanding to the AIDS epidemic during a time when people with AIDS were stigmatized and even ignored.

To view the entire slideshow, visit CNN Health.

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Conquering your fear of getting an HIV test

Conquer your HIV testing fears!The thought of getting an HIV test can be incredibly scary. Why? It’s simple: You fear the test results will come back positive.

Getting tested for HIV can be a very emotional and anxiety-inducing process. However, the benefits of going through it are priceless.

Many people feel incredibly relieved when they get a negative result, since they no longer have to worry about their status. (Note: If you are sexually active, it is important to continually and correctly use protection, as well as get tested every 6-12 months. Just because an HIV test comes back negative doesn’t mean you can’t still contract the virus if you participate in risky behavior).

For those who get a positive result, the benefits are a little less apparent. Nobody can predict what it may feel like to be told that they’ve tested positive for HIV, no matter how hard they try to imagine the scenario. Furthermore, every person who is diagnosed with HIV processes the news differently. Emotions can include any combination of sadness, anger, regret, questioning, and even numbness.

However, it is important to remember that an HIV diagnosis is not a death sentence. This is why getting tested regularly is vital; if HIV  is diagnosed near the time of infection, it means you can more quickly work with your doctor to get on meds to help you live a longer, happier, healthier life. You can also get educated about  lifestyle changes you can make, to both prevent the spread of HIV and to also help you stay healthy.

Following are articles that include personal accounts of going through HIV tests. One article highlights a person with negative results, and the other discusses personal accounts of receiving an HIV diagnosis:

Put an End to Your Fears, Stop Googling, and Go Get Tested (Jay S., thebody.com)

Now, the feeling I had at that moment, it was as if I had taken all of those fears that I had carried on my shoulders for years and simply released them.  Leaving that office, holding my girlfriend’s hand, was one of the greatest feelings in my life. Life was renewed. I could start thinking about my future. It was incredible.


Learning you are HIV positive (avert.org)

I remember driving to the hospital thinking to myself, it’s going to be negative. I was quite sure it was going to be negative. But it wasn’t. “I’m sorry to say it has come back positive” the nurse said. Then the surprising thing happened, I didn’t fall apart. For so long I had thought about what I would do if I became HIV+, and in those thoughts it was always the same, that I wouldn’t cope. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t over the moon about the result but I didn’t break down. I just decided to deal with it.

So there you have it. If you’re at risk for HIV, get tested regularly. Most places can do a simple mouth swab and have your results ready in 20 minutes. For HIV testing in Bloomington, IN, or for a referral to a nearby testing site in your Indiana location, contact Blomington Hospital’s Positive Link.

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HIV through the years

CNN Health recently featured a story about the experiences of three different men with HIV in the United States. While HIV is seen much differently in the U.S. now than it was in the 80’s, it is still important to be aware of how HIV and AIDS affect our own communities.

See the article here.

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