What an HIV Positive lifestyle looks like in the 21st Century
Raif Derrazi is charming, his smile warm and broad, he’s quick to laugh, generous with his knowledge of bodybuilding and eating healthy, and he’s HIV positive.
HIV is a part of Raif’s life, but it’s not the most interesting thing about him. While Raif will speak to you honestly about living with HIV, he’ll just as easily open up about being a dog dad, how he came to be an award-winning body builder, and give you his hot takes on the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.
Raif is a great example of the ways an HIV diagnosis has changed in recent years. It is no longer a death sentence and with treatment, HIV can become undetectable and untransmissible. So why don’t we talk about it more often? Why is there still such a hush-hush attitude surrounding HIV and AIDS in many U.S. communities today?
When the AIDS epidemic was sweeping the nation in the 80’s and 90’s, people were scared. Misinformation spread like wild fire, and it was difficult to separate the facts from fiction. But this fear was met with activism. There were HIV positive celebrities, HIV negative allies, concerts, fundraisers, and overall media attention. But as gains have been made in treating the virus, this level of media attention and general awareness has died down. When we look to the media today, we don’t see the same level of activists dedicated to this issue, or the same amount of people speaking out about living with HIV today.
Raif wants to change that. As an HIV positive activist, he’s committed to sharing his story and his status, to show people what it means to be HIV positive in the 21st century.
In the video below, he details how HIV has impacted life and how an HIV diagnosis does not define who you are.
About: AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a global nonprofit organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to over 1,000,000 people in 43 countries. We are currently the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the world.