My Anti-Stigma Message

Lynnea's picture

During this current public health crisis, I find myself annoyed at how much I'm hearing people speak about the stigma that is being placed on those who may test positive for COVID19. I feel like society has allowed HIV positive people to be stigmatized for way too long.

I can recall being in the 6th grade and hearing a kid in my class call me a "fag fucker". The whole class laughed and even the teacher said nothing in my defense. I just watched a video on social media where a guy pointed out the fact that a child whose parent has overcome the coronavirus was teased at school and called a "Covid kid". The whole video was made in an effort to reduce the stigma because people can survive "The Rona"... So now I have to ask, is HIV stigma justified because there is no cure? I really don't understand.

I have a healthy fear of this new virus because as an HIV positive person I am already engaged in a fight for my life. I don't think my body could handle another invader. For a minute I led myself to believe that my daily routine of popping an Odefsey tablet would serve as some kind of force field preventing any new viruses from having an effect on me but in reality, I don't think it works that way. I have faith that God will not put more on me than I can bear but faith without works is dead.

I have not been afforded the luxury of sheltering at home. I have a child that I need to provide for. Somehow my employer has tweaked the word "essential" to include tax office managers. So every day I drive to my office where I still meet clients face to face as needed. I smile and attempt to provide excellent customer service as I try to hold my breath until I'm out of the six feet range from each person. I ask myself daily, "Why don't I just stay home?" The answer is: because I need to stay at work and make money for as long as I'm allowed because I have no other means of survival.

Will my faith keep me? For the longest I couldn't understand why HIV was considered a disability and I get it now. As a child I could have qualified to receive SSI benefits. As treatment improved and death rates dropped, the stipulations for a positive person to qualify have gotten more and more strict. Now I wish I had it so that I could afford to stay home until the temperature rises and this virus fades away as promised. If only HIV would fade away too... then maybe the world would stand up against HIV stigma.

 

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Thu, 10/29/2020 - 5:22pm
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