Picture the scene, you are sitting in a restaurant, enjoying a meal either on your own or with friends. You are wearing a ribbon supporting some charity or another, it is noticed by your waiter, it is not one he recognises and he asks about it. You tell him what it is, and why it is important to you. It is as simple as that.

The scene above is one that I have experienced on many occasions. The ribbons or pins in question have been wide and varied: from a purple Scout badge to a red ribbon for HIV–AIDS awareness. It is unsurprising that it is with the latter that I want you to think a bit more.

Picture another scene, you are sitting in a restaurant or in another social setting, enjoying your evening, either on your own or with friends. You overhear a conversation between two customers and a waiter. The waiter has just asked about the red ribbon that one of the customers is wearing, he has just said that it is for HIV—AIDS awareness and that yes, he is positive himself. The other customer starts to move away, to refuse to touch anything that the customer living with HIV has touched. A nasty situation is developing. What would you do?

A similar scene is shown in the clip below, filmed by ABC news, featuring Daniel Logan, please watch it and then think, what would you do?

And if anyone thinks that this scene does not happen in Northern Ireland, they are very much mistaken. It does. Not as often to me as it has done in the past. But then, I am very much open about living with HIV. Not everyone living with HIV has my confidence to stand up for their rights to be treated with respect.

If you don’t know how HIV is spread, then I recommend that you watch the next video from Body and Soul.