Reflection on World AIDS Day 2013
As I reflect on World AIDS Day last week, I still marvel at the Stigma attached to HIV/AIDS especially in my own people. ( I stand corrected). A lot of people still associate the illness with promiscuity and homosexuality which is so wrong. The virus is no respecter of gender, creed, religion, sexual orientation, educational level, level of affluence nor colour. South Africans, especially black South Africans need to be educated or need to be knowledgeable about the illness so they are in the know that it is not always associated to promiscuity or homosexuality. I have found that people sit for years without disclosing their status even to their loved ones for fear of the stereotype, and stereotypes are created by people. We need to get to a point, as people, where we remove the scales on our eyes where HIV/AIDS is concerned. We live in a society where adultery has become part of many marriages. There are many married people who have been faithful yet their partners not and this has resulted in them contracting the virus. We live in a society where sexual assault has become a more frequent crime than crimes that are income generating and some of the victims contract the virus from such. We come from a time when even medical professionals were not knowledgeable about the virus and did not protect themselves or treat patients with caution and this resulted in they themselves contracting the virus and also some patients. We live in a society where poverty elevation is near impossible and those who find themselves in extreme poverty would and do anything for a loaf of bread, sometimes this anything is selling their souls to the devil. Some people are so lacking in knowledge that they can't protect themselves, and like the proverb says" My people perish because of lack of knowledge" So the next time you hear of someone who is living with this virus or died from it, never assume you know their lifestyle or their sexual orientation. Rather try to walk a mile in their shoes and imagine what it feels like to wake up knowing there are little buggers eating up your good cells in your body and the challenges of living like that. Like a doctor said on a talk show, as far "as he's concerned in South Africa, everyone is positive until proven negative."
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