The Body:
You Say Whore Like It’s a Bad Thing

May 15 0 Comments Category: Health

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Opinion

You Say Whore Like It’s a Bad Thing

Years ago, when a doctor in the Bronx was told that he should test his 18-year-old pregnant patient for HIV, he asked, “Why? What do you think she’s been doing?”

With that story, the effects of stigma became clear to me. If a doctor doesn’t understand how HIV is transmitted, what chance does the public have? He seemed to think that you had to be a prostitute to get HIV, a position of ignorance and misinformation. Because that’s what stigma does, it drives misinformation. You have to be a prostitute to get HIV. You have to be gay. You have to sleep around.

The most vulnerable communities affected by HIV were dehumanized with stigmatizing words that helped delay research and treatment.

Faggot.

Junkie.

Whore.

Today, stigma remains as alive and well as ever while the epidemic evolves, except that now it’s a pill for HIV prevention that has moralistic panties up in a bunch.

That’s right: A pill to prevent the scariest STI in history is being condemned, along with the people who dare to take it, thereby making a bid for greater sexual freedom. (How dare they!)

You would think that people taking a pill shown to reduce the risk of HIV by 92% or more would be hailed as responsible heroes in the fight against the epidemic. Instead, the Sex Police have labeled them “whores.” After all, Truvada PrEP, just like the birth control pill before it, gives you greater freedom to be a slut. (Never mind that you can be a slut without taking any prevention pills or methods at all. You would just be a slut at higher risk of every STI.)

It is sadly bizarre that we’ve stigmatized having HIV for so long and now we’re stigmatizing a prevention method that helps people stay HIV negative.

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