Copyright: Marten van Dijl / IAS
Earlier this week, I was informed that a young man under the age of 25 has recently been diagnosed with HIV. The who and how is irrelevant. What is definitely relevant, however, is that this could have been avoided had the NHS and Public Health Department not been delaying promoting and campaigning for better access to information and treatment.
What can you do?
There are different ways you can be an activist in the world of HIV. The first step is to get informed. This website together with others I will be sharing along the way can help you educate yourself on the subject.
Whilst it is legitimate to say that some may not feel comfortable jumping in front of a camera to talk about HIV or carrying placards demanding better treatment for those living with HIV, or PrEP and PEP on the NHS, or anything else for that matter, we can, and should all be activists.
Talking about HIV is not limited to the uptake of medication but also to the quality of life of those living with and without HIV. The more open we are about sexual practices and the risks that may come with them, the higher the likelihood that certain diseases could be prevented and/or treated. Moralistic arguments are not only not convincing but regressive in any public health targeted approach.
Only when informed and educated can we push for change. Start a conversation with your friends, ask them when and about the last time they were tested. Encourage your friends to get tested every three months and to learn about PrEP, U=U and PEP (I shall be writing about all these in future blog posts)
On my own, I cannot bring change to the very much stagnant and archaic HIV and sexual health strategies in Malta, but together, we can, and we should!
Let’s embrace our diversities. Let’s come together and bring about change. It’s time to act!