While there have been huge breakthroughs in preventing and treating the virus to keep it from progressing to AIDS, some of the stigmas and stereotypes remain, especially in the LGBTQ community.
“My mom, my dad, and my grandmother were all in the room with me when I found this information out and their reaction made me cry,” he said, “I wasn’t crying for me, I was crying for them.”
“The statistic of being a man, a black man, a gay black man, a gay black man that’s HIV positive, so all of those things started going in my mind, like ‘Oh my God I’m such a disappointment,” he said.
“It’s not really real bingo because you don’t win anything,” Gulden said, “but it is a really good time. So there’s dancing there’s routines, we have a Diva that is the MC for the night and she’s great – her name in Mimosa and she’s fabulous! She makes everybody laugh and have a really great time.”
Gulden said thanks to huge medical breakthroughs in treating and even preventing HIV, RAIN has been able to shift from helping people die with dignity, to living fully with or without HIV.
“We try to help people see that they can still have a robust social life and still have friends and family and intimate partners, just like they would if they were not living with HIV,” said Gulden.
“One pill once a day or one shot every other month, that keeps someone from getting HIV, even if they come in contact with it,” Gulden said when describing PrEP, “That is a huge deal, it’s what we call a functional cure, because if we could find everybody who is living with HIV and get them on effective treatment, and everyone who’s at risk for HIV, and put them on PrEP, we would not see any new infections.”
Gulden said, “People are still really ashamed; there’s the internal stigma that people feel, but then there’s also still family members that are making their brother, sister, child eat with plastic spoons and forks, still to this day in 2022.”
Over time, Wilson has come up with his own ways of fighting those stigmas and addressing HIV misconceptions by being very open with his story and encouraging others to take HIV and AIDS off the taboo list of topics.
In a not-so-surprising twist, Wilson now works at RAIN full-time as the Director of Outreach, to help build relationships with clients to help them write their own HIV stories.
When asked for some advice for people newly diagnosed or struggling, Wilson had said dwelling on what happened or what you did to get to this point, won’t help much.
“Go with your next step in regards to how to fix this, so you can go on and actually live that healthy life that people are telling you that you can live,” Wilson said.
source: FOX 46 Charlotte