Meet Patrick, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing the experiences of individuals living with HIV. Patrick shared that he has been navigating life with HIV for the past twenty-seven years and recently featured on the award-winning POZVIBE Podcast, confidently stating, ‘I’m 48, out, Poz, and more fabulous than ever!’

Residing and working in Dublin, Patrick spoke to me about living with HIV and the journey of rejecting stigma and shame. He emphasised the importance of embracing his status in the HIV community. He underscored how crucial it is for individuals to understand the value of ‘U = U’ in fostering support and understanding.

When asked about experiences with HIV-related stigma in healthcare, Patrick recounted an incident at the dentist’s office. A locum dentist, going through his chart, remarked, “Oh, you have a Disease”? Patrick responded by asserting his perspective on living with HIV, stating it’s not a disease. He noted instances where some dentists doubled-gloved when treating him or placed him at the end of the list for proper attention. I apologised to Patrick, who graciously responded, “It’s fine. I can laugh at these things.”

Patrick expressed his desire for society to be more educated about HIV stigma, highlighting the need for awareness and understanding to combat misconceptions and discrimination.