(Scroll down to see all the stories from this edition!)
Quick question. How much do you know about COVID-19?
We’ll take a guess: like us, you probably know its history, how it’s transmitted, symptoms of “regular” and long COVID, at least a few of its variant names, and probably lots of other facts we’d rather not have learned.
You might know quite a lot about HIV as well. But given that human immunodeficiency virus has been reported in Costa Rica for 40 years, as opposed to just over three for COVID, wouldn’t you expect that public knowledge is substantial? Maybe not better, given that Costa Rica has largely kept HIV in check over the years, but fairly solid?
That’s what we thought. But as we began reporting on HIV in Costa Rica thanks to support from the Internews Health Journalism Network and its Mercury Phoenix Trust HIV/AIDS Reporting Fellowships, we found that misinformation and stigma surrounding the virus is the single most important problem mentioned by people we interviewed who are living with the virus, and the professionals who serve them.
Our 28th edition of in-depth journalism includes Katherine Stanley’s in-depth longform series on this topic, first-person stories from three people living with HIV in Costa Rica, and a special edition of our El Colectivo 506 podcast created by award-winning journalist Diego Bosque. Along with columns and live events, the edition will strive to help us all understand what can be done to reduce stigma around the virus—and why this effort has implications for all of us.
Welcome to “HIV@40.”