‘Thousands of us live in the shadows because we feel that Ireland isn’t the safest place for us’

HIV activist Robbie Lawlor has pleaded with people to “stop this HIV stigma nonsense” after his appearance on The Tommy Tiernan Show on Saturday night.
The brave young man was praised for his informative and upbeat chat with the comedian, with many on social media saying they learned more than they ever had about HIV by listening to Robbie for five minutes.
And taking to Instagram this morning, Robbie said he hopes his interview will help stop the stigma in Ireland.
Lawlor said: “Ireland, can we all please stop this HIV stigma nonsense? Its 2021!
“There is a normalisation, or even an expectation, that people living with HIV should not be open about their status. I hoped that coming out with HIV Positive printed on me gave a massive middle finger to that ridiculous notion.
“Thousands of us live in the shadows because we feel that Ireland isnt the safest place for us to live openly about our very manageable health condition. This needs to change.
“As I said, ‘My HIV affects absolutely no one, it only affects me’. This is true for thousands of us living with HIV, so why does society make us hold a secret that is so damaging to hold?
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“I hope last nights appearance on Tommy Tiernan Show will help create a much needed conversation in this country around HIV, U=U, sex and our need for comprehensive and compulsory sexual health education.”
The Dubliner educated viewers by articulately discussing the symptoms and treatments available for those that have been diagnosed with HIV.
Most importantly, he provided a message of hope and positivity for anyone that might be currently experiencing what he went through.
Robbie has been widely praised for his interview on the show
Significantly, he reminded people that medical care is available and it’s important to be educated on all aspects of sexual education.
He told the RTE host: “I know men and women – on the first time they had sex – got HIV. Because it only takes one time to get HIV and I don’t want to scare people but that’s the reality for so many people across Ireland.
“We have this idea that people living with HIV are highly promiscuous and who cares if they are? Like, I know highly promiscuous people that are very good at using condoms too. We have to dismantle that image that only promiscuous people get HIV. There’s a lot of unlearning that we have to do collectively because HIV rates have never been higher in Ireland than they are today. We get around 500 new diagnosis each year, which is one of the highest in Europe and that’s due to lack of education.”
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