By Kasanya Chavula
It is ironic how the world that we are so vested in stereotypes based in colour, religion and or the financial status that one acquires in life. The typical man has to silence the noise that is headed towards him on a daily basis and this hinders the basic growth of humanity in general. This noise is brought forth by any number of groupings that we are in communication with, be it family, friends, church, tribes but to mention a few. This has led to divisions which are mostly caused by shallow minded people who with no knowledge or big picture have wanted to bring people down to the same level as them. The people with knowledge are the victims are silenced by the vast majority of people who bring forth a fabricated truth all in a quest to push forth an agenda that neither benefits the people who speak the fabricated truth and those who act on the fabricated truth.
People are prone to act upon what they hear those with influence say. It must be noted that the fastest wild fires come from gossip and hatred towards people of a certain status. (https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-social-issues/stigma-discrimination)
“Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS
The fear surrounding the emerging HIV epidemic in the 1980s largely persists today. At that time, very little was known about how HIV is transmitted, which made people scared of those infected due to fear of contagion.
This fear, coupled with many other reasons, means that lots of people falsely believe:
- HIV and AIDS are always associated with death
- HIV is associated with behaviours that some people disapprove of (such as homosexuality, drug use, sex work or infidelity)
- HIV is only transmitted through sex, which is a taboo subject in some cultures
- HIV infection is the result of personal irresponsibility or moral fault (such as infidelity) that deserves to be punished
- inaccurate information about how HIV is transmitted, which creates irrational behaviour and misperceptions of personal risk.”
Though some of these may be true some are simple unsubstantiated and this has led to many people refusing to open up about the status. Some were children born that way and have been placed in the same state as though it was there choice? Even though some may have been careless it still shows the heart of the people that discriminate, that they do not really care about the neighbour.
It is understandable that one may not fully understand the virus and people may feel it necessary to protect themselves but this type of protection is causing more harm than good. As such people that might want to come out and speak about the virus and help people fail for fear of being treated less than human. It must follow one saying that was coined some time back, “if you are not infected, you are affected” this also true of another quotation “Whenever AIDS has won, stigma, shame, distrust, discrimination and apathy was on its side. Every time AIDS has been defeated, it has been because of trust, openness, dialogue between individuals and communities, family support, human solidarity, and the human perseverance to find new paths and solutions”.
This remains on which side of the fence are you, are you the ones that are making HIV win or are you going to take a stance and be the ones that fight against HIV. The fight must be directed at the virus and not at the people; the people regardless of how one came to have it are affected. And you too though you are not infected are affected.