More

In a poignant comic, 10 people explain what it's like living with HIV.

'I firmly believe that without this diagnosis and the journey it has led me to make, I really would be a boring narrow-minded old fart.'

In the sea of international causes we now observe, it may be easy to forget that World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. What should not be easily forgotten, however, is how many it's affected in just three decades.  

According to the U.K. organization National AIDS Trust, since the virus was first identified back in 1984, over 35 million people have lost their lives to it. Today, an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV worldwide. But thanks to advances in medicine, especially in the last decade, infection rates are going down, and people who have the disease are living longer.

While that is ultimately good news, life with HIV/AIDS is not simple, even when you take away the added regular health management. There is still a heavy stigma around it that often affects people living with either condition. Most of this seems to stem from a lack of understanding about how HIV is contracted.


English illustrator Graham Johnson, together with National AIDS Trust, wanted to help reverse the stigma by introducing the world to actual people who were handed the HIV/AIDS diagnosis over the years. He illustrated 10 of their stories to show how the individuals behind the scary statistics keep living life, often fuller than they did before.

Here they are in chronological order, from the early 1980s all the way up to today.

All illustrations by Graham Johnson/National AIDS Trust, used with permission.

Of course, there are negative experiences in here, but the point is that they don't define these people. They're challenges to overcome, after which life ultimately moves forward.

Thanks to measures by National AIDS Trust and other HIV awareness groups, people living with HIV/AIDS don't face nearly as much judgment and discrimination as they did in the past. As long as any stigma remains, however, it's important to keep the conversation about the condition going until all fears are put to rest.

It's equally as important to keep supporting prevention methods. National AIDS Trust recently won a major lawsuit that declared the National Health Service in England can fund (and must consider implementing) the HIV prevention drug PrEP. This newer drug prevents HIV-negative people from contracting the virus and thus could help lower the number of new cases significantly. Government support for these discoveries is necessary for them to have any sort of impact.

The fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic is ongoing, but the more people and organizations who stand by those who've been diagnosed, the sooner the stigma around it will become a distant memory.

True

From the time she was a little girl, Abby Recker loved helping people. Her parents kept her stocked up with first-aid supplies so she could spend hours playing with her dolls, making up stories of ballet injuries and carefully wrapping “broken” arms and legs.

Recker fondly describes her hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a simple place where people are kind to one another. There’s even a term for it—“Iowa nice”—describing an overall sense of agreeableness and emotional trust shown by people who are otherwise strangers.

Abby | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Driven by passion and the encouragement of her parents, Recker attended nursing school, graduating just one year before the unthinkable happened: a global pandemic. One year into her career as an emergency and labor and delivery nurse, everything she thought she knew about the medical field got turned upside down. That period of time was tough on everyone, and Nurse Recker was no exception.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels

The Emperor of the Seas.

Imagine retiring early and spending the rest of your life on a cruise ship visiting exotic locations, meeting interesting people and eating delectable food. It sounds fantastic, but surely it’s a billionaire’s fantasy, right?

Not according to Angelyn Burk, 53, and her husband Richard. They’re living their best life hopping from ship to ship for around $44 a night each. The Burks have called cruise ships their home since May 2021 and have no plans to go back to their lives as landlubbers. Angelyn took her first cruise in 1992 and it changed her goals in life forever.

“Our original plan was to stay in different countries for a month at a time and eventually retire to cruise ships as we got older,” Angelyn told 7 News. But a few years back, Angelyn crunched the numbers and realized they could start much sooner than expected.

Keep Reading Show less
True

It takes a special type of person to become a nurse. The job requires a combination of energy, empathy, clear mind, oftentimes a strong stomach, and a cheerful attitude. And while people typically think of nursing in a clinical setting, some nurses are driven to work with the people that feel forgotten by society.

Keep Reading Show less

We're dancing along too.

Art can be a powerful unifier. With just the right lyric, image or word, great art can soften those hard lines that divide us, helping us to remember the immense value of human connection and compassion.

This is certainly the case with “Pasoori,” a Pakistani pop song that has not only become an international hit, it’s managed to bring the long divided peoples of India and Pakistan together in the name of love. Or at least in the name of good music.
Keep Reading Show less

Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas teaches you how to pee.

A pelvic floor doctor from Boston, Massachusetts, has caused a stir by explaining that something we all thought was good for our health can cause real problems. In a video that has more than 5.8 million views on TikTok, Dr. Alicia Jeffrey-Thomas says we shouldn’t go pee “just in case.”

How could this be? The moment we all learned to control our bladders we were also taught to pee before going on a car trip, sitting down to watch a movie or playing sports.

The doctor posted the video as a response to TikTok user Sidneyraz, who made a video urging people to go to the bathroom whenever they get the chance. Sidneyraz is known for posting videos about things he didn’t learn until his 30s. "If you think to yourself, 'I don't have to go,' go." SidneyRaz says in the video. It sounds like common sense but evidently, he was totally wrong, just like the rest of humanity.

Keep Reading Show less