Speaking with PEOPLE to promote her
work with an AIDS charity, Laverne Cox revealed that people assume
she's HIV-positive because she's transgender.
The 47-year-old star of Netflix's
Orange is the New Black,
told the outlet that it's “insane” that people are still dying
from the disease.
“It's insane that in 2019, AIDS is
still an issue in a lot of parts of the world, that we have new
transmissions every year,” Cox said. “It's insane to me when we
can prevent it.”
“I know so many people who are living
with HIV/AIDS and unfortunately far too many people who we've lost to
the disease. And there's still a really crazy stigma around
Cox has teamed up with Band-Aid
and RED for World AIDS Day, December 1, to end the epidemic.
She told the outlet that people assume
that she's HIV-positive because she's a black transgender woman.
“I think so often in my experience as
a Black trans woman, so often it's assumed that I'm HIV-positive,”
she said. “Like when someone knows I'm trans, the conversation
around HIV/AIDS comes up in a way when they don't know I'm trans, it
doesn't come up. Again, it's these layers of stigma, and these are
things we internalize.”
“We have to talk about stigma and
shame directly to really have people understand that it's something
that we have to actively fight against,” she added.