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Peppermint, Parson James & More Join GLAAD in a Call to End HIV Stigma

Even with all of the progress made in the field of HIV research, a new report from GLAAD shows that we still have a long way to go.

On Monday (July 27), GLAAD, in partnership with Gilead Sciences Inc., published their first-ever State of HIV Stigma Study, a new guide showing the prevalence of stigma surrounding the HIV in the United States. To help spread the message of their findings, GLAAD also enlisted stars like Peppermint, Parson James, Michelle Visage and many more to speak on camera about the ubiquitous nature of misinformation.

“We’ve made significant progress towards ending the HIV epidemic,” Drag Race star Peppermint says at the outset of the new video. “But too many people are still uninformed about HIV and the people living with it.”

According to the new study, only 51 percent of non-LGBTQ Americans and 55 percent of LGBTQ-identifying Americans said that they “feel knowledgeable about HIV,” while 59 percent of all respondents incorrectly stated that it is “important to be careful around people living with HIV to avoid catching it.”

Research and treatment has shown that not only can HIV not be transmitted through unbroken, healthy skin, but proper treatment can make a patient’s viral load undetectable, and therefore untransmittable. “Stigma continues to hinder efforts to educate the public about prevention and treatment options and suppresses valuable conversations about HIV between friends and loved ones,” the report states.

But as singer Asiahn points out in GLAAD’s video, many Americans say that they want to do better. 89 percent of those surveyed agreed that “there is stilll stigma surrounding HIV,” while more than 90 percent also said that “promoting prevention should be a high priority” as well.

Actress Tatiana Mislany left viewers with some final thoughts, imploring Americans to get educated about the virus as a means to help end both its spread and stigma. “We can all play our part in fighting stigma by educating ourselves and our communities,” she said. “Armed with the facts, we can make the world a better place for everyone.”

Check out the full State of HIV Stigma Study here, and watch GLAAD’s new video below:

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