Fmr Chicago news anchor Lionel Moise shares HIV status on World AIDS Day

Wed. December 1, 2021 1:11 PM by Gerald Farinas

lionel moise is an out gay journalist and news anchor

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Broadcaster hopes to help remove the stigma around HIV

Former WBBM morning news anchor Lionel Moise shared his HIV-positive status on Instagram to mark World AIDS Day, December 1. He hopes visibility helps diminish stigma and signal to others that HIV-positive can live healthy working lives.

"I've decicated my life to storytelling, discovering the truth, and being the voice for the voiceless. But today, it's time to tell the truth," Moise announced. "I am HIV positive."

For many in Moise's personal circle including close family, this is a coming out.

"I was diagnosed five years ago and it has been a difficult journey to get to the place I am today. This is not something I've shared with a lot of people, and this willcome as a shock to most of my family."

He shared the challenges of finding out for the first time and the fear of death.

"I've served on HIV/AIDS boards, gotten tested on-air, and interviewed countless people impacted by the virus, not knowing it would someday impact me," he continued.

"Facing mortality at such a young age was tough. I felt like I lost the feeling of invincibility and the innocence most of us have in our youth. The spark, the drive, the excitement all turned to darkness. I was severely depressed, unable to look myself in the mirror, and worried daily about whether I would wake up the next day."

Moise continued, "With treatment, I am healthy and undetectable. I've learned to truly cherish each moment, and also realized we all will die one day, but it's how we live that truly matters. Facing death has taught me to live each day to the fullest, and to use those days to help others."

"I've been blessed to have a platform as a journalist and I don't take the responsibility that comes with it lightly."

"HIV is not discussed enough. It is still taboo, there is still so much shame and judgement that is associated with it that hinders real conversations. HIV impacted my family far before my diagnosis, yet it's something we never really discussed."

"On World AIDS Day, so many will wear red ribbons, attend walks, and then wake up the next day and move on. We often treat HIV/AIDS as an epidemic from the 80s, or something that only impacts other groups when it impacts us all. HIV does not discriminate based on race, sexuality, gender. And it will not go away until we all work together."

"Part of that work needs to be changing the stigma around it."

World AIDS Day has been commemorated each December 1 since 1988. It was meant as a memorial to those that died in the early days of the epidemic and engage the public to educate themselves about HIV/AIDS.

As HIV/AIDS medications have advanced, much attention has been turned to ending stigma. For example, educating people that an undetectable HIV-positive status means they can no longer transmit the virus to others.

Chicago is home to two of the most well-known HIV/AIDS advocacy groups: AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Test Aware Positive Network, also known as TPAN.