Through education and conversation, we can spark action that brings awareness and support to People Living With HIV.




01HEALTH INEQUITIESWhat's the Difference?

Scales of justice representing health inequalities in the United States

As defined by the World Health Organization1, health inequities are systematic differences in the health status of different groups of people. Because of the historic effects of racism2, the color of your skin can be a determinant of your access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes.

In the United States, Black, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ communities are disproportionally affected3 by HIV. Health inequities play a role and have an impact on:

  • quality healthcare services — treatment of HIV4
  • education5 — understanding HIV6
  • healthy food7 — staying healthy after an HIV diagnosis8
  • safe housing — day-to-day stability9
65% of new HIV diagnoses are Blacks and Hispanics
Those those that poverty line are twice as likely to get HIV
17% of LGBTQ+ fear the ability to find quality care if not at their current community clinic
Black person looking into distance

02MEDICAL MISTRUSTHow Do I Build Trust With My Healthcare Provider?

Icon representing medical mistrust

Medical mistrust is a lack of trust with the healthcare system, healthcare providers, or medicine in general.13 This mistrust has been a big challenge for the LGBTQ+ community in starting and sticking with HIV treatment.14 Health inequities give medical mistrust and HIV stigma more power and can stop people from getting diagnosed.15

Addressing Stigma

HIV stigma is the negative attitudes and beliefs about People Living With HIV.15

Stigma is considered by some to be a health inequity, as it can lead to less people being tested or treated. It makes it harder to talk about drug use or risky sexual behavior with your doctor.16

Odds of reporting medical mistrust are 73% higher in Black adults and 49% higher in Hispanic adult versus white adults
According to a 2018 study, only 10% of active physicians are Black or Hispanic

Representation Matters

Patients are often more comfortable having open and honest conversations with doctors who share their same race, ethnicity, or orientation. But because diversity among doctors is limited, it can lead to mistrust in doctor-patient relationships.19

Have a Brave Talk With your Healthcare Provider

  • Lean into what is uncomfortable—you will be surprised at how far that takes you.
  • Before meeting with your healthcare provider, think through questions and prepare to approach conversations with honesty and vulnerability.
  • View disappointments, criticism, and doubts as par for the course—they are all just part of the path to healing and success.
  • Educate yourself on the policies surrounding HIV care, which can vary state by state and impact your care.
  • Above all, know you have a basic human right to healthcare that meets your needs.

“Medical mistrust is an opportunity to stop and have conversations. We need to be self-advocates...and take our power back.” ~ Octavia Lewis
MPA, Advocate, Positively Fearless Ambassador

Profile person with face painting and earring against a wall with confetti streamers


Icon representing self advocacy

Self-advocacy is speaking up for our own needs and taking action to make sure those needs are met. Being honest makes it easier for us to find the right support from friends, family, and healthcare providers.

“[My physician] didn't know how to provide hormonal care to trans patients. She was very transparent about it, and I loved that about her. She did her homework, she was diligent, and it was a journey we went on together.” ~ Octavia Lewis, USA Today

Working With Your Healthcare Provider

Shared decision-making is when patients work with their healthcare provider to find the right treatment for them.

Icon representing 63% of patients with HIV prefer shared decision-making with doctor

63%of patients preferred shared decision-making. These patients were more
likely to stay on treatment.

Selfless Self-Care

By staying mentally and physically healthy, we can help keep our bodies in peak condition for fighting HIV.21

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Fearless Conversations Guide

Having open conversations with your healthcare provider is more important than ever before.

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Map Icon

Resource Locator

Connect with HIV services like testing, resource centers and more.


Person looking down over right shoulder while surrounded by other people

We all have the courage for conversation. Are you ready for a Brave Talk?

Brave Talks Conversation Starters

Change starts with conversation. These questions will help open the dialogue between you and the important people in your life.

Healthcare Provider

What is your perspective about using shared decision-making with your patients? How do you incorporate shared decision-making in your daily practice?

Something to consider:
Shared decision-making is associated with better health outcomes. 63% of patients with HIV preferred shared decision-making and were more likely to adhere to treatment.22


I feel like I don't have the energy to               . Can you help me by                ?

A new study finds that many family and friends of People Living With HIV wish they could better understand their loved one's condition. It also reveals that the resources and information isn't readily available to them.23


Have you ever worried about aspects of my living with HIV?

Reaching out to your friends can be a key step in your HIV journey. High perceived social support from friends was associated with less perceived HIV stigma.24 Even though your friends may not have all the answers on topics surrounding HIV, their support can help get you to finding the people who do.

Have you ever felt like a healthcare provider treated you unfairly based on               ?
How did you handle it?

In a study, 100% of transgender people of color surveyed described healthcare experiences that were negatively impacted because of provider responses to their race and/or gender identity.25 Bias towards race, or even perceived bias, can make it a challenge for People Living With HIV to self-advocate.