Welcome to the first peek into the new VOX Investigates Team. This semester we’re embarking upon a journey, writing articles and creating podcasts, videos and photo galleries that all speak on HIV and AIDS in Atlanta.
In March 2015, Atlanta was ranked as the No. 1 city both nationally and internally that has a steady progression of HIV/AIDS cases.
On Aug. 22, 2015, the VOX Investigates Team got a visit and presentation by four ambassadors from the Greater than AIDS and #SpeakoutHIV movement. A few members of the team gave reflections on their initial contact with the vast amount of information shared that day.
I’m kind of intrigued by how contrasting HIV is: If untreated or undetected, it can end up being really serious and even life-threatening. But there seem to be a lot of HIV-positive people who are able to live normal, healthy lives. I think it’s really sad how many misconceptions there are about HIV. I wish everyone could be educated on the simple facts of HIV, like what it is and how it’s transmitted, that way maybe the stigma wouldn’t be so big. It’s really sad how many people lose friends or family or are mistreated because they have HIV.
- Lizzie Likness
Listening to these men speak was such an eye-opening experience for me. Before I began this project, I came with an open mind and a willingness to learn more about HIV, and coming on the first day, learning the true facts about HIV, I realize how little I really knew about this disease. First of all, shockingly now that I know all the facts, I did not even differentiate between HIV and AIDS and thought they were the same thing. Secondly, from what friends and family told me, I thought it was wrong to even kiss a person with HIV, let alone being able to have sex with them. Third, I thought people with HIV were doomed to be single their whole lives, unable to even have children. I am so shocked to find that I, and a few other young girls in the VOX Investigates program were so uneducated about HIV. In my school, I learned a few facts about it early in middle school, but not enough to be as safe as I learned to be from just a few minutes listening to the Speakout [HIV] group …. Now I know how to prevent myself from getting HIV/AIDS, what to do if I find myself in a situation where I am at risk or may have HIV, factors that spread HIV, clinics that I can go to if I do catch the disease, and how ridiculous some of the previous stereotypes about HIV that I had are. With my own experience, I think it is so important for everyone in Atlanta to be as educated and also open-minded about the disease as possible, especially teens my age that are going off to college not knowing the potential dangers with HIV and the steps to take care of themselves if they do contract the disease. Educating Atlanta youth on HIV is very necessary and important.
- Miranda Mullins