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2 years ago

# HIV HEROES

62 own status, and

62 own status, and forget sometimes that not everyone out there has had the same experience—that many people who are diagnosed aren’t able to process it. They keep secrets. They suffer. Only to be fed by a globally universal fear and lack of understanding of HIV/ AIDS. Enjoying this confidence can be dangerous. Complacency is why we find ourselves—in 2015!—with increasing HIV infection rates in certain groups. I’ve learnt that rather than becoming complacent in my own shame-free HIV-positive life, I must keep pushing forward, using my numbness to, or ignorance of, stigma for something bigger than me. I guess I do it because I’m not afraid. You’ll have to ask my parents about that fearlessness, as it’s been around far longer than I’ve been positive! #CHANGETHEFACE is an attempt to make things better for “us” and start conversations that might help remove the stigma that absolutely still exists. Us means other HIV-positive people. Us means our families and friends. Us means low-risk groups that normally have few reasons to involve themselves with the topic of HIV. And why would I agree to have my blood used to print this magazine? Because holding my HIV in your hands is… well, even I am a bit shocked by the idea. Hopefully this act—a brave one for some, a non-issue for others— will create waves of conversation about HIV that I could never achieve by myself. I’m doing this because I believe positive can be positive, and talking about HIV is the only way we can get more people to share that vision. Wiltrut Stefanek AGE Wiltrut has been living with her HIV-positive status for over twenty years. After being diagnosed, she decided to openly deal with her condition and, as a result, founded the special interest group PULSHIV (www.pulshiv.at). She lives and works in Vienna and has a 24-year-old son. 45