I could recount numerous tales of the different stigma that I have faced but really does it matter? Do the ignorant, mean, hateful things others say really matter? If you allow them to, yes!
Now I am far from being the total zen master but I strive to not allow the negative energy of others affect me and honestly it is because I think enough negative things about myself to allow what others say to matter. The difference is that no matter how critical I am of myself I like who I am flaws and perfections, so if and when people say the negative things that people say I know that regardless of whether there is any truth to what is said it doesn't matter because it is already something that I most likely have acknowledged about myself.
When people ask how did you get HIV or how were you so naive I can now stand tall and be one hundred percent honest about the who, what, when, where, how, and why of what happened in my becoming infected. After that honest dialogue is opened up and there is room for the comments that can be and are some times supposed to be hurtful that is when I as an individual can decide how I will react. The wonderful thing about knowing yourself and liking yourself is that even when someone may do something hurtful toward you you can use their actions to be a teaching moment. You can use their hate and ignorance to teach them and even if they still choose to remain in their state of ignorance and refuse to open up to some sort of acceptance then in the end it is their loss, but when you love yourself it is not hard to be okay with that.
I know the road to loving one's self may be a very difficult one and it definitely has been for me, I have to thank the people that have chosen to approach me with hate, with misunderstanding, with stigma because those individuals have enabled me in finding a true and genuine love of who I am and because of that self love I have self understanding and acceptance.
So I say the next time someone says something ignorant and prejudiced to YOU, educate them (if you can), treat them with the love they so obviously lack, and then thank them for motivation!!!