Inclusive Communication: 6 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Living With HIV

1. How did you get it?

None of your goddamn business! I mean we’re sure you’re curious, but that is private information, and it is not your place to ask a HIV+ person how they got infected! If they ever feel the need to disclose that information to you, we are fairly sure they will initiate that conversation themselves. Until then, it is best you don’t ask them!

2. You don’t look like you have HIV.

It is a common misconception that people who have HIV should “look sick”. People with HIV just have compromised immune systems, and look perfectly normal, so there is no need for you to make this comment!

3. I’m sorry to hear that

A majority of people still believe that HIV is a terminal illness. The reality of this couldn’t be further away. Treatments for HIV are so advanced that with proper treatment people with HIV can live normal life and prevent HIV from turning into AIDS! Please don’t give HIV+ people your pity, they don’t need it.

4. So, you can’t have sex ever again?

Another widely spread common misconception! People with HIV can have healthy sex lives, in fact most of them do! Antiretroviral medications can help to slow damage caused by HIV infection, and as long as their viral loads remain undetectable, they can have plenty of sex! Plus, condoms exist, and are a great tool at helping prevent the spread of all kinds of STDs, not just HIV!

5. How long have you got left?

Please remember, HIV is NOT a death sentence! In 1996, the total life expectancy for a 20-year-old person with HIV was 39 years. In 2011, the total life expectancy bumped up to about 70 years. A person only develops stage 3 HIV, also known as AIDS, when their immune system is too weak to defend their body against infections. This is easily prevented by treatment. Please don’t ask this question because it is rude, and shows that you are ignorant!

6. So, you can’t have a family?

Modern medicine has advanced so much that people with HIV can have healthy HIV free children. There are many methods available for people living with HIV to conceive safely if they want to start a family. People living with HIV can even give birth without passing on HIV to their baby. Like we said — the marvels of modern medicine!



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Nunchi: The Communication Consultants

Nunchi: The Communication Consultants


A young and emerging brand of Communication Consultants, changing the way people communicate.