HIV – Stigma and Discrimination / Love, Life, Laughter – HIV is a nothing if taken in a positive way, it is just another disease – the only fine line that separates it is IGNORANCE
Being HIV Positive teaches a person about LIFE and how to overcome all "obstacles". About PEOPLE and how to "understand" them. About SOCIETY and how to change their "mindset". All it takes are the three P's: Patience, Persistence and Perseverance. There will be Stigma and Discrimination. It is in our hands how we tackle this issue. I prefer not to be too affected and go with the flow. Continue to show people through our living examples: by remaining healthy as ever, by talking about HIV as if it is just another disease and above all, being happy that exudes warmth and cheerful aura around. Some people, especially close friends and relatives will leave you but they will always be "watching" you – how you are struggling to cope. My husband, who is HIV Negative, had to be answerable to every family member. More than me, they watch him. There was just one thing on their mind: "Is he going to be HIV Positive too?" Even my morals were questioned as we come from a very conservative and orthodox background. No amount of justification will make one "believe" that my HIV was due to medical negligence. In such society, HIV is always thought to be through multiple sex. Therefore, the best thing is to go with the flow without fighting. Give them the benefit of doubt and carry on life as if nothing has happened. Update yourself with knowledge and educate. You are your own best example and role model. If you want to bring a change in the society, then BE the change. And the rest follows.
My in-laws were once afraid of my HIV. But looking at their son, it took them less than 8 months to be free from fear. Now we eat, drink, share from the same plate. What we have learnt from our HIV journey is to "showcase" ourselves without having much explanation to do and the question itself comes flowing around.
We don't let HIV define us, rather we just live our life despite HIV and the definition is left up to the people.