About Siloam

A PLACE THAT
PEOPLE LIVING
WITH HIV & AIDS
HAVE CALLED
HOME FOR
24 YEARS!

WE BELIEVE EVERY
PERSON DESERVES

THE CHOICE TO LIVE
WITH DIGNITY, NOT
DEPENDENCE.

OUR STORY

Founded in August of 1995 by Sister Bernadette Kinniry and Father Don Reilly, Siloam was born out of a conviction that achieving health requires a holistic approach: to successfully beat illness, one must invest in comprehensive wellness. Through a collaborative planning process involving over sixty community members and stakeholders, Siloam has emerged as a truly unique provider of mind/body/soul to support to those living with HIV/AIDS in the Philadelphia area by addressing the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being, as well as the soul of persons living with and or affected by the disease. We believe that each person has a right to their own beliefs and that, to best help them, we must support their unique search for meaning.

THE STIGMA

What is HIV stigma? HIV stigma is negative attitudes and beliefs about people with HIV. It is the prejudice that comes with labeling an individual as part of a group that is believed to be socially unacceptable. Here are a few examples:

  • Believing that only certain groups of people can get HIV

  • Making moral judgments about people who take steps to prevent HIV transmission

  • Feeling that people deserve to get HIV because of their choices

What is discrimination? While stigma refers to an attitude or belief, discrimination is the behavior that results from those attitudes or beliefs.HIV discrimination is the act of treating people with HIV differently than those without HIV. Here are a few examples:

  • A health care professional refusing to provide care or services to a person living with HIV

  • Refusing casual contact with someone living with HIV

  • Socially isolating a member of a community because they are HIV positive

What are the effects of HIV stigma and discrimination? HIV stigma and discrimination affect the emotional well-being and mental health of people with HIV. People with HIV often internalize the stigma they experience and begin to develop a negative self-image. They may fear they will be discriminated against or judged negatively if their HIV status is revealed. “Internalized stigma” or “self-stigma” happens when a person takes in the negative ideas and stereotypes about people with HIV and start to apply them to themselves. HIV internalized stigma can lead to feelings of shame, fear of disclosure, isolation, and despair. These feelings can keep people from getting tested and treated for HIV
What causes HIV stigma? HIV stigma is rooted in a fear of HIV. Many of our ideas about HIV come from the HIV images that first appeared in the early 1980s. There are still misconceptions about how HIV is transmitted and what it means to live with HIV today. The lack of information and awareness combined with outdated beliefs lead people to fear getting HIV. Additionally, many people think of HIV as a disease that only certain groups get. This leads to negative value judgements about people who are living with HIV.

WHAT CAN BE DONE

ABOUT HIV STIGMA?

WHY DONATE?

Siloam's Work Doesn't Just Stop At Treating HIV...

Siloam Helps With Healthy Decision Making

Substance Abuse Recovery, Recidivism, Employment, Education, Etc.

GET THE FACTS

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. No effective cure exists for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others because of many factors, including their sex partners, their risk behaviors, and where they live. This section will give you basic information about HIV, such as how it’s transmitted, how you can prevent it, and how to get tested for HIV.

The words we use matter. When talking about HIV, certain words and language may have a negative meaning for people at high risk for HIV or those who are living with HIV. Consider using the preferred terms below to avoid promoting stigma and misinformation around HIV.

BEGIN TO TAKE ACTION

Scenario:
You arrive to a family reunion picnic with your sister who recently shared with the family that she was diagnosed with HIV. As you make your way around to say hello and offer hugs to family members, your cousin hesitates when greeting your sister, commenting “I’m not going to get it am I?”

What you can do:

  • Model positive behavior by hugging your sister.

  • Share HIV basics, including facts about how HIV is transmitted. “I’m not sure if you know, but HIV is not spread by hugging, shaking hands, or socially kissing with someone who is HIV-positive. The HIV virus can’t survive outside of the body.”

  • Offer to have a conversation and answer any other questions she might have about HIV.

  • Follow up later with an email or text that links to educational resources.