Let’s Talk About HIV and AIDS

Man Wearing Red Ribbon

The first time I heard the words HIV and AIDS, I was a kid when my last uncle, a missionary, told me about it. Being a kid, I connected this kind of diseases to underdeveloped countries. When I grew older, the topic was brushed over in a class, which made me realise I was wrong.

This might sound wrong, but the first time I came face to face with the AIDS epidemic was through watching Pose, and it shocked me to my core. I get emotional even now just thinking about it. What I’m hoping to do with this post making sure we don’t forget the lives that our community has lost and learning how to stay safe.

What are HIV and AIDS?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Where Did It Start From?

It started in chimpanzees in Central Africa and got transferred to humans while hunting and contacting their infected blood. Studies show that it began in the late 1800s.

What Are The Symptoms?

Although, the only way to know for sure if you have it is to get tested. Within 2 to 4 weeks, you can feel flu-like symptoms; this phase is called acute HIV infection. Other indicators may be:




Night sweats,

Muscle aches,

Sore throat,


Swollen lymph nodes, and

Mouth ulcers.

The Stages:

Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection

Stage 2: Chronic HIV Infection

Stage 3: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)


There is a medication called antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, this medication isn’t a cure, but it does keep this virus at bay. Although, with the treatment, most people can get it under control within 6 weeks. It is essential to know that the virus can be transmitted to others at this point.

I hope everyone stays happy and healthy, which is why I feel that information is key!


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8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About HIV and AIDS

  1. It was 1993 when I first heard of HIV; I was 6 and in 1st grade. Retrovirals wouldn’t still be a thing for another two years. We were told if we saw someone bleeding on the playground to not touch them and get the nurse immediately. I didn’t hear of AIDS till I was 10, in 1997, and we played a “game” that asked us questions and would predict how long we would supposedly live, because they were starting to teach us about puberty and dating. Surprisingly, I didn’t hear HIV or AIDS as “the gay disease” until high school when I had to a paper on hemophilia.

    What pisses me off is having known people who think because they don’t have a “detectable viral load” think they can go cruising. Or that are members within our community who are “bug chasers” so once they get it, they don’t have to worry about it, and think that taking meds is “‘easy”, and just end up “barebacking”.. NO, IT’S NOT EASY WHEN YOU GET IT. Your immunity becomes compromised. Treatments often over time stop working. Copays and coinsurances are bloody high, burning holes in many pockets, or causing people to bleed in premiums to try and reduce those copays for meds and doctor visits.

    I am not against hookup culture or casual sex; I’m just about safe(r) sex. If you have a d*ck, wear a condom (this includes trans women). If you have a vagina, wear a barrier; hormonal contraceptives do NOT protect against STDs. And in a cishet hookup, it’s not just the guy’s job to bring and wear protection; our feminist predecessors did not fight hard for equality, just to burden everything onto the guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A horrible thing and it was treated as a political weapon by right wing, religious men in power. Disgusting. The AIDS quilt, while beautiful, was the saddest thing. Freddie Mercury has a square. It’s good to remind people that this disease has not gone away.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I always associated as many did with being gay or from a third world country there is such a stigma still as my mum was around in the 80’s when it was a big thing then that she still fears for me being gay even though there’s PREP which suppresses HIV thank you for writing this Alex xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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