Bristol-Myers Squibb National Survey Finds a Disparity Between Health Care Providers and HIV Positive Patients Perspectives on the Emotional Barriers to Seeking HIV Care and Treatment

today presented results from a national survey which found that emotional barriers, such as stigma, fear, denial and shame, and structural barriers, such as lack of knowledge, transportation, and insurance coverage, can prevent people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) from seeking care and treatment.

As gay men growing up in a Heterosexual world, we still harbor the deep wound of shame. This is often the root of our denial. Even when we come out sexually we want the world to see us as the successful homosexual, braking away from the stereotype that the culture has of us. When we contract an illness that has been demonized it taps in to that shame and we often go in to denial. The work we need to do is to start to understand our internalized homophobia and separate it from the medical care we need.

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