AIDS activists react
Three Toronto social workers talked about what they hope people will take away from the Sheen’s HIV-Positive reveal.
...practice what you tweet “People are much more willing to talk about HIV and show compassion and that’s incredible,” says Murray Jose-Boerbridge, executive director of the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. “The next hurdle there is to actually take that to action.” ...start treatment right away “What we’re hearing in the research is it’s really important to start your treatment right away when you find out,” says Jocelyn Watchorn, the AIDS Committee of Toronto’s director of support services. ...disclose to your children at your own pace Sheen spoke about coming clean to his 31-year-old daughter Cassandra. “It’s helpful when the parents themselves have done a lot of work in terms of their own acceptance of HIV,” says Nicci Stein, executive director of the Teresa Group, which advocates for children and families affected by HIV and AIDS.
...talk about HIV like it’s a karmic punishment “People always think, ‘I’m not that kind of person, therefore I’m fine’,” Stein says. “There’s such a wide variety of people who are living with HIV through all sorts of circumstances.” ...assume Sheen represents all Hiv-positive people “I’d hate to see discussion or resources move to follow the trend of a star. The vast majority of people living with HIV continue to be gay men or other individuals who are experiencing societal gaps,” says Jose-Boerbridge. ...underestimate the value of a celebrity ally “He has the capacity and he certainly has the following to actually raise provocative conversation,” Jose-Boerbridge says. “To actually challenge people to really think.”