Nikko’s Story

Cut the Stigma was inspired by Nikko Briteramos.

In October 2017, a Los Angeles barbershop refused to cut the personal trainer’s hair because he has HIV.

It came as a shock to Nikko.

In 2002, he was a promising college athlete. But he was convicted under a South Dakota law criminalizing HIV transmission.

Despite the fact that the woman he was with didn’t contract HIV, and had even asked the court not to convict him, he was sentenced to 120 days in prison and five years probation.

The conviction brought unwanted publicity and derailed Nikko’s life.

Over a decade and a half later, he refused to take the barber shop’s discrimination sitting down.

He worked with Lambda Legal and secured a favorable ruling in court.

“My experience there was not the first I have had with HIV discrimination,” he says. “I am speaking out because I would like it to be my last.”

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