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Get Back You've Got AIDS/HIV? A true look at one man's story

Updated on July 15, 2012

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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.

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

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The Faces of AIDS


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    • brittvan22 profile image

      brittvan22 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      lol. @ mothernature, its true. People are so apprehensive about things, but not even willing to take the time to gain knowledge that will subside their fears. Its easier to offend then it is to acknowledge and educate yourself. Thanks for your input.

    • Motherbynature profile image

      Motherbynature 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      You are very insightful. I love how you really internalized what was going on and you were able to admit your own weaknesses. You know what kills me about humans/people? We are hesitant to shake hands, sit on public toilets, touch bathroom doorknobs, etc... but we are willing to drop drawers for someone based on looks alone. The logic in the choices we make, really? I once had a girlfriend who was a germaphobe. She was obsessed with cleaning and washing her hands. She would make comments about how she didn't shake people's hands because she didn't know where they had been. But I personally watched her let some random dude fish his tongue halfway down her throat at a frat party one night. I just stood there feeling very confused. Anyway, great hub :)

    • brittvan22 profile image

      brittvan22 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks Nan, its a sad and harsh reality that some Americans and their families face. They may have HIV/AIDS, but they are still human and should be treated as such.

    • Nan Mynatt profile image

      Nan Mynatt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for writing your hub, I hope that it will shed light on the disease. We are faced with a no cure and prolonged pain during their last years of their life. We do need to pray for them with such a dreaded disease with no real cure and their families.

    • brittvan22 profile image

      brittvan22 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I agree with you that some humans do that sick circle of discrimination, bullying, and dehumanizing. There is a saying we say often in Pastoral Care, hurt people hurt people. For me while I sympathesize with them, I can never truly understand their pain. I do not condone them spreading it to others out of anger, because it only adds to the cycle of pain. I can only speak for myself and I have not walked a day in that condition, I just hope more people educate themselves and try to treat them the way they would want to be treated.

    • sir_tallest profile image

      sir_tallest 5 years ago

      its a wonderful hub you have written and it is painful at the level of discrimination these people suffer,,,,sometimes i find it hard to blame those that decide to spread the disease after been discriminated but i have come to understand that people tend to discriminate against the minority,,,,if most people had the sickness,,,,they will bully and discriminate against those that don't....its the way of the world