AIDS: what is more to combat within?
AIDS are an epidemic dilemma; it started way back in the 80’s when HIV/AIDS were publicly identified as a new communicable disease. Though the disease was seen as a disease of gay males for they were concluded as the first host, it spread rapidly from time on that anyone regardless of sex, age, cultural status and races can be infected easily with the disease. To refresh things up, AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) are a disease caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency virus). HIV is a pathological disease which is communicable; it is acquired through infected blood, contaminated instruments and prolonged contact with an infected person. It attacks our immune system by rapidly entering our blood and replicating our white blood cells, which make it difficult for our immune system to recognize and destroy the virus that suppresses our immunity to infection. And since blood circulates all over the body it affects our major organs, which result to multiple organ failure then death follows.
However, there is more to this disease other than suffering from its symptoms alone, and that is the reactions of the people around. From the time HIV/ADIS was identified, this epidemic dilemma is accompanied by social responses like stigma, denial, fear and discrimination. For unlike sexual diseases like Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes Zoster and more, HIV/AIDS from this present time don’t have a remedy. With this, it then brings fear to the people of such death that awaits to all if infected. For others, HIV/AIDS brought them compassion, solidarity and support, bringing out the best in people, their families and communities, but, we cannot deny the fact that it also brings negative responses. That it also associates stigma, repression and discrimination to the persons infected.
All around the world, persons living with HIV/AIDS faces many problems in their society. This includes not only the risk of losing the people close to them but also losing their reputation as an individual. Being treated differently likens one to an unwanted animal. Discrimination is the unfair treatment to these persons for they still are human beings like us. This happens because people are not knowledgeable enough of the virus—HIV. We know that we can easily be infected by such disease but in certain ways. Others may have the wrong understanding on how to acquire the virus that results to other forms of discrimination like; avoiding shaking of hands, sharing the same glass or plate and kissing. These acts cannot infect others with the virus but because a lot of people are still ignorant about the disease, it then leads to discrimination.
Another problem the infected people encounter is the unfairness towards their work, housing and education. Regarding their work, if ever an employer finds out an employee is taking medication for such disease; it will most likely result for the employee to be looking for another job. Although it deeply depends on what type of workplace the infected person is into, still it affects the working relationship with their workmates, which leads to harassment and results to discontinue working there. Same to those landlords that forbid HIV positive persons to rent their place and infected students who get kicked out of school for this reason.
We cannot allow this to progress any longer; we have to put a halt on this stigma and discrimination towards the AIDS victims. We have to change the attitude of the people’s view about AIDS, and we know that the root cause of such an act is because of lack of knowledge and understanding towards the disease. In short, people need to be educated. We cannot rely on the policy or law enforced in overcoming this negative act; it has to come out initially from us. People in the community must work together in doing such a task. We have to let everyone be aware of all the necessary things, there is to be done. For in doing so, we not only help the infected ones and the whole community but also ourselves.
This has nothing to do with being good or bad in doing such an act. This is all about education and changing our behavior towards it. The only way to stop the stigma and discrimination, aside from understanding the disease itself is when we see the HIV/AIDS people as a person like everyone else, with challenges to face, and hopes and dreams for the future.