How It’s A Sin Helped me talk to my mum about HIV

As young people growing up with HIV, we weren’t always around to really see the aids crisis. After watching #ItsASin with my mum I thought I would ask her what her opinions are:

“It was good to see its a sin portrayed in the manner in which it was.
It broke me watching it, it broke me quite a lot.
At school we had to draw a poster as the consequences of AIDS inevitably ending in death.

The drawing of a coffin with those words on it just like the advert on TV.
The fear of AIDS, every time you saw a man you thought could be gay you thought AIDS.

Late 90’s here I am, my desperately wanted child was born, and just 6 months that devastating news that my then husband, my child and I all had HIV.

There was so much pain, so much fear, so much ignorance from so many, from the very few people I knew. The nurse said “Don’t tell your friends, they will tell another”
Another nurse “if it was me and my child I’d take us both and jump off a cliff”

Well known HIV organisation “come join our stop smoking group if your positive and a gay man”
So many things I could say at that time which caused more pain.

The biggest fear was that my child was going to die and I would look like a dead person walking and people may guess, my vanity winning.

My then husband taking a shower shortly before my child had his HIV results
“These are your towels, you do not share them with the baby!!!!” Those were my words and I look back now with digust at my actions.

Its a sin portrayed so well the ignorance, the stigma, the loneliness, and the pain. It showed us how back then we were taught to fear people who were gay.

We were scared and all it did back then was instil ignorance and so much pain.
I was ashamed. I hate the words, I still very much do.

I would really like to see this followed up with the hidden pain of those who were also affected by HIV: Mums, mums of all races , mums who felt the guilt, the shame, watching their baby go through pain, worrying with each and every blood test.

The holding down of your baby forcing the toxic medication down their mouth, wondering what age they could possibly live until. Each year felt like a miracle.

I was alone back then, no support for me, self pity eating away at my soul.

#ItsASin showed me the ignorance that I had back then, how ugly it was. Im glad this has been shown for all to see! How we all, like sheep, thought this couldn’t happen to me…I didnt think this could happen to me.

Its a sin brought back so much pain for me, but I’m glad it was shown at long last. But I do ask for more.

My child now grown up to become an activist who leads the way in destigmatising the ignorance surrounding HIV…I couldn’t be prouder.