Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Beyond Stigma - World AIDS Day



When Charlie Sheen made the public announcement of his HIV a few weeks ago those who confuse humour with cruelty were quick with nastiness. I have this strange notion that regardless of lifestyle (Sheen's has been atrocious) no one deserves to be kicked when they are vulnerable. What happened in response to his revelation was just cowardice from my perspective.

Today is World Aids Day and the significance of the occasion may be pushed into the background by COP 21, the refugee crisis, and concerns about security around the planet. Yet HIV/AIDS still represent a significant health issue and the stigma of the disease is very real.  
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I realized this morning that the only congregation where individuals told me about their diagnosis was in Sudbury. I served the large downtown church there and was asked to serve on the newly formed AIDS committee for the city. It was 1988, the scientific community was still trying to figure out how HIV/AIDS worked, and it was nearly always a rapid death sentence. I ended up with folk in the gay community connecting with the congregation because of my role on the committee. I visited a number in the hospital, and buried them as well.

The stigma was very strong in those early days, and honestly I had my own struggles. It's strange though. Sometimes the gospel of a loving Christ leads us into a new way of being even as the old way of thinking persists. When I look back I realize that I found my way into acceptance by my practice before my head caught up. I have no regrets about my involvement, even though at the time there was enough fear of the unknown that I wondered if I might be jeopardizing the health of my three young children by visiting AIDS patients in the hospital. Some nurses would only enter rooms with masks and gloves on.

Do you recall how your outlook changed over time? Do you think discrimination is still out there? Would you speak up if you heard disparaging comments?



6 comments:

Mariam said...


MY NAME IS MARIAM FROM SOUTH AFRICA...I SAW THIS COMMENT ON POSITIVE BLOGS AND I WILL LOVE TO TELL EVERYBODY HOW MY STATUS CHANGES TO NEGATIVE, AND AM NOW A LIVING WITNESS OF IT AND I THINK ITS A SHAME ON ME IF I DON'T SHARE THIS LOVELY STORY WITH OTHER PEOPLE INFECTED WITH THIS DEADLY VIRUS...,HIV HAS BEEN ONGOING IN MY FAMILY... I LOST BOTH PARENTS TO HIV,. AND IT IS SO MUCH PAIN IVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET OVER.. AS WE ALL KNOW MEDICALLY THERE IS NO SOLUTION TO IT..AND MEDICATION IS VERY EXPENSIVE..SO SOMEONE INTRODUCED ME TO A NATIVE MEDICAL PRACTITIONER IN AFRICA..I HAD A JOB THERE TO EXECUTE SO I TOOK TIME TO CHECK OUT ON HIM.I SHOWED HIM ALL MY TESTS AND RESULTS.. I WAS ALREADY DIAGNOSED WITH HIV AND IT WAS ALREADY TAKING ITS TOWL ON ME.. I HAD SPENT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS SO I DECIDED TO TRY HIM OUT...I WAS ON HIS DOSAGE FOR 1 MONTHS. ALTHOUGH I DIDNT BELIEVE IN IT, I WAS JUST TRYING IT OUT OF FRUSTRATION... AND AFTER 2 WEEKS, I WENT FOR NEW TESTS... AND YOU WONT BELIEVE THAT 5 DIFFERENT DOCTORS CONFIRMED IT THAT AM NEGATIVE..IT WAS LIKE A DREAM,,I NEVER BELIEVE AIDS HAS CURE..AM NOW NEGATIVE,,AM A LIVING WITNESS..I DONT KNOW HOW TO THANK THIS MAN... I JUST WANT TO HELP OTHERS IN ANY WAY I CAN..HAVE JOINED MANY FORUMS AND HAVE POSTED THIS TESTIMONIES AND ALOT OF PEOPLE HAS MAIL AND CALLED THIS MAN ON PHONE AND AFTER 2 WEEKS THEY ALL CONFIRMED NEGATIVE..BBC NEWS TOOK IT LIVE AND EVERY.. HOPE HE HELPS YOU OUT.. EVERYBODY SAW IT AND ITS NOW OUT IN PAPERS AND MAGAZINES THAT THERE'S NATIVE CURE FOR HIV AND ALL WITH THE HELP OF THIS MAN,,HAVE TRIED MY OWN PARTS AND ALL LEFT WITH YOU,,IF YOU LIKE TAKE IT OR NOT..GOD KNOWS HAVE TRIED MY BEST.ABOUT 97 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED NEGATIVE THROUGH ME..AND THEY SEND MAILS TO THANKS ME AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED NEGATIVE,,THIS MAN IS REAL..DON'T MISS THIS CHANCE,,HIV IS A DEADLY VIRUS,,GET RID OF IT NOW..
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Dr Ozman said...

God bless Dr. ozman for his marvelous work in my life, I was diagnosed of HIV since 2010 and I was taking my medications, I wasn’t satisfied i needed to get the HIV. out of my system, I searched about some possible cure for HIV i saw a comment about Dr. ozman, how he cured HIV with his herbal medicine, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked for solutions, he started the remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine through UPS SPEED POST. I took the medicine as prescribed by him and 8 days later i was cured from HIV,thank you dr.ozmanspellhome@gmail.com Dr ozman ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU SIR contact him whatsapp number +2349061515609

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John Harry said...

Have you been suffering from (HPV) disease for 3 years and had constant pain, especially in my body. During the first year,I had faith in God that i would be healed someday.This disease started circulate all over my body and i have been taking treatment from my doctor, few weeks ago i came on searching on the internet if i could get any information concerning the prevention of this disease virus, on my search i saw a testimony of someone who has been healed from (Herpes virus and Cancer) by this Man Dr DADA and she also gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him for any disease sickness of any virus that he would be of help, so i wrote to Dr DADA telling him about my HIV/AIDS he told me not to worry that i was going to be cured!! hmm i never believed it,, well after all the procedures and remedy give to me by this man few weeks later i started experiencing changes all over me as Dr DADA assured me that i have been cured,after some days i went to my doctor to confirmed if i have be finally healed behold it was true, So friends my advise is if you have such sickness disease,or any virus you can email: drdadaspellhome@gmail.com. Thank you Dr DADA,you can contact him through his whatsapp number +2348139284741

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LETS SAVE said...

AMA is my name i am a Ghanaian ,i read a comment about a year ago concerning a lady who was cured by Dr Barasa but then i saw some negative comments under it by other persons that it was not true that there is no cure for HIV that the said man can not cure HIV i was so confused but then i screen shot it on my phone and started using the ARV few months ago i came across it on my phone again and i decided to contact him and i got a response.Dr Barasa was so polite that i felt so relieved.we had our discussion and he told me all i required to be cured and i provided all cause i was fed up.he sent my herbal cure to me through DHL COURIER SERVICE as agreed here in KUMASI. i received it and applied it as directed after 28days as instructed i went for a further check and it appeared negative it was too good to be true as i never believed it though i played along i went to another hospital at Accra and the result appeared negative then i was convinced i was cure by Dr Barasa herbal cure.i feel so happy and with a purpose once again.you could be lucky just as i am.please world never speak ill of what you do not understand cause it goes a long way of destroying lives you ill comments kept me in pain for this long cause i would have reached out to him that very day all the same i bless God for my sound health.you can reach him with his email:barasatemple@gmail.com.i wish you quick recovery.

Alex Grace said...

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DROSAGIESOULTIONTEMPLE@YAHOO.COM ) or His Whatsapp number: +2347030465649...thank you my great DR
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June Perry said...

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