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Get Back You've Got AIDS/HIV? A true look at one man's story
Blind Love or Unconditional Love
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Gandhi says, “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” I love some of Gandhi’s sayings, back to topic. I know what you’re thinking, another AIDS/HIV public service announcement blog. This subject has been hit enough already, or has it? Over a large percentage of the population is suffering from this life threatening disease. Some would argue that the AID/HIV epidemic is no different from Cancer, when it was first introduced to the world. AID/HIV is not the gay disease despite popular rhetoric, it is not a discriminator of persons it affects everyone.
Women, children, the elderly (I know right, stop laughing it's true as of late.), teenagers, men, homosexual, heterosexual, the down low brother or sister, and the married. I could get into the statistics, but I'll just add a link or two so that you can check it out for yourself. Why am I writing about this two reason, a colleague of mine and a special gentlemen I encountered at a Gas Station. My colleague said when I mentioned doing a blog on, AIDS, "Oh ok, well, I think people have gotten over that."
I felt in that moment like I was issued a challenge. I feel that if we had truly gotten over AIDS/HIV it would not be as devastating and crushing to the world as it is, especially the United States. My answer was, "Not really because there is less person to person contact in our society. We did a health awareness class and I sat amongst clergy, who still held archaic assumptions on AIDS and HIV. It keeps many people from interacting with one another."
Yes, I was also privy to a conversation as a scribe, for the AIDS Alliance, where I sat amongst groups from all walks of life as they gave their knowledge, understanding, and encounters with the AID/HIV epidemic, as well as person affected and infected with the disease. One lady recounted how she was afraid to touch them, because it was an air-born disease right. She was volunteering at a soup kitchen at the time. I thought for a minute if the person servicing you is either afraid of you or has a bias against you, doesn’t that affect, how they interact or not interact and service the guest? Then, another more mature woman recounted, her memories of Cancer in its initial discovery.
She spoke of all people tried those with cancer, how you didn’t go to visit them, because you didn’t want to catch it. (Yes, catch Cancer apparently we humans have a pattern of ignorance and lack of human regard as an initial reaction to something we don’t understand or know a lot about. Let’s get educated, just a suggestion, meaning if fear is your first response that is ok, but don’t let it be your only response, become educated, you may be able to ease your concerns.) It was not about the person ill, but about protecting one’s self. We are an individualistic society, or are we?
I was shocked, but not surprise, because there was a conscience that apparently that was societal norm, yet many of the nods were coming from people affiliated with the church in some capacity. Thank goodness, for the question and answer portion or my head might have popped off, reading being the same things they were doing to cancer patients they admitted to doing AIDS/HIV patients currently, talking about history repeating itself, and wow. I wondered would the selfish continue, guess we will see.
Resources on AID/HIV
Ofter Professionals discussing AIDS/HIV
My own encounter with AIDS
It was after I volunteered for a crusade, they were having at the World Congress Center. I was on my feet all day from sun up to sun down. My feet were screaming for relief. We go to the gas station to get gassed up (the car, not us, lol.) So my boyfriend at the time decides he wants to get some wings from the Wing Booth. I was a little annoyed, because I was past ready to go to sleep, but since I didn't have to wait in line with him, I decided to go along with it. Then, we see a man, appearance wise, it was hard to see, he was covered in sores, dirty, looked hungry, etc.
It was hard to see, which is ironic for me, because I had just left a healing crusade, where people looked to be the same or worse than he was. (Guess I am human, after all.) He began to talk to my boyfriend, who seems to totally embrace him effortlessly in my sight. They came to the car and we chatted. How it was for him living with full blown AIDS? (I'm that kind of person.) He said the thing he missed the most was human interaction, affection.
He said no one wanted to come near him, or touch him, they did not acknowledge his presence. He said it was like he didn't exist or wasn't human. That broke my heart and I became conductor of the guilt train. Then, as the conversation closed, he reached to my boyfriend to shake his hand and he shook it, willingly. I honestly was relieved shamefully so, that he wasn't going to shake my hand.
Then the strangest thing happened. He walked over to my side of the car and I shook his hand and invited him to church. He then asked me if he was really welcomes in my church. I told him yes, he could come anytime on Sunday and Wednesday night. On the ride home, I truly gave deeper thought to his question.
He was right; he couldn't come to my church at the time and be welcomed. They didn't welcome strangers that didn't look a certain way (3 piece suits, big hats, you know the typical church get-up), they bombarded them with a battery of question about their intentions, etc. God forgive they could want to hear the message too! It was at that moment I knew I had to change my attitude through education to wrangle in my fear and change my church. As it turns out I was more of a danger to him that he was to me from a medical perspective.
Then, there was the encounter with my client, who had a brother who was coping with AIDS. She was his care-giver she was so upset, which really rung true for me the true communal effects on your love ones.
For one he was coping with the disease and although she didn't have AIDS, she was struggling with it too, being his caretaker made AIDS becomes a part of her everyday life. At that moment when I saw her frustration, anger, and tears, I was humbled and empowered to educate others. This blog is my way of communally doing so, in a way giving back and honoring the memories I share with them. If the cancer theory holds ground, maybe someday it won't be as debilitating as it is now, I hope. What I want you to take away from this is treat them with the same regard as you would want to be treated.
One Woman's Story
Basic States on AIDS
Summary of current HIV/AIDS statistics.