Words: Steve Brown
ABC News reporter Karl Schmid said being asked if he is ‘clean’ is both ‘offensive’ and ‘incredibly ignorant’.
The news reporter made headlines this year when he revealed he is HIV-positive in an emotional Facebook post in March where shared an image of him wearing a T-shirt promoting the AIDS memorial Instagram page, which is dedicated to the people lost to the virus.
But now in an interview with the Star Observer, the reporter opened up about stigma around the virus and how we haven’t “moved past” the memory of the Aids epidemic in the 1980s.
He said: “The stigma associated with HIV is one of the main reasons HIV/AIDS is still spreading at an alarming rate in some parts of the world.
“The images that were burned into our memory from the 1980s and 1990s were effective at shocking people back then but we haven’t moved past that and for many, when they think of or hear the letters HIV, that is all they know.
“It shocks me and saddens me that within the younger gay community there is so much stigma and discrimination towards those of us live with HIV.
“To be asked if I am ‘clean’ when it comes to enquiring about my sexual health and overall health is not only offensive but it’s incredibly ignorant.
“It’s time we have a new and very real conversation about what it means to be HIV-positive in this day and age and hopefully by me telling my story I’m helping to facilitate that a little.”