AIDS: The People Seen as Nothing But Their Blood

by Christian Lawrence M. Tan || Photo Credit: Everyday Health

We live amongst people with all sorts of illnesses, from the hypertension your grandmother might have to the diabetic cousin anyone could have. However, why is a full-blown freak-out the first reaction to HIV? People think their blood is filthy, soiled as the rag you use to wipe your dinner table, or like a wound that never heals and spreads like wildfire just by being near. All the people ever see in them now is their blood and what stains it.  

Fear-mongering by the media makes it worse, as the stigma only grows with knowledge. People are scared because they know of it, but their hostility comes from not knowing about it. They are aware of the danger the disease itself poses but feel justified in their scorn of the afflicted because they don’t know how it feels and has no desire to contract it themselves. Despite all the knowledge available to the average person about this stigma-clad disease, anyone and everyone can still be ignorant.  

HIV stands for “Human Immunodeficiency Virus.” It attacks the body’s immune system until it begins to struggle against other diseases. If left untreated with antiretrovirals for long enough, it develops into the condition known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). By then, the human body is so weak to infection that something like a little cut can be life-threatening. As an STD, it is spread through sexual contact, or mediums such as blood, semen, and vaginal excretions. 

One would think that there would be more sympathy from the common man given all the information of what HIV/AIDS positives suffer through, but that is unfortunately not the case. And so the big question is: do they really deserve it? After all, it is not as if they willed it. The logic that victims go about philandering in an attempt to catch it on purpose is simply foolish. By judging them and isolating them from society, you ostracize these suffering individuals simply because you hold prejudice against them.  

Some might say they are being punished for their carelessness and being ‘impure’, but again, does one see themselves planted on the ground before they even spot the rock they will trip on? People like to pretend they’re in the right because they feel that they can see the situation unfold from all sides, but they fail to consider what it might actually be like for the person suffering.  

Breaking down the barrier is the first step of creating an environment where one can freely reach out. There shouldn’t be a difference in how people with HIV or AIDS are treated. Place yourself in their shoes for you to understand them better and for you to grow as a person from it. It is time to stop seeing these people as filthy-blooded monsters, and rather a time to regard them as the good average person they were, and still are, supposed to live as. 

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