I’ve been involved in gay rights activism since I was a teenager. As a gay man I know how silence perpetuates fear, distrust and stigma. I’m proud to be a gay man and I’m equally shameless about living with HIV.
I was diagnosed with HIV when I was 30, more than 24 years ago. Ten years ago I wrote an article saying that I was no longer prepared to conceal my HIV status. HIV is nothing to be ashamed about. I would have come out earlier but I was scared how my parents would react. Fear held me back. Coming out was liberating.
I am determined to challenge HIV stigma, not least by sharing the message that treatment prevents sexual transmission – U equals U. The more of us who are willing to be open about living with HIV, the more we can effectively challenge stigma and the easier it will be for those who follow us. I know that it’s easier for me to share my status than it is for some others, so I feel it’s my duty to do so.
I am proud to be able to support the HIV community as the Executive Director of NAM aidsmap, an international HIV information resource. If you would like to see more of my work and passion, visit my Twitter (@matthew_hodson) and Instagram (@matthewhodsonlondon).
Smash the viral closet, smash HIV stigma!
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