Recently, the AIDS Services Foundation in the United States (California) “launched a social media campaign designed to fight HIV stigma, which fuels spread of the disease, by sharing photos and personal statements from residents with HIV/AIDS.”
HIV is transmitted through infected bodily fluids, infected blood, infected syringes and from infected pregnant woman to her newborn child (if the newborn is not given Nevrapin within 6 weeks of being born). HIV can only be seen on a person if he/she acquires an Opportunistic Infection (OI). If an HIV positive person is on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) medication, the person is considered healthy and the person lives a normal life. ART delays the transition of HIV into AIDS and is disseminated free of cost in government hospitals. Once the person becomes drug resistant to first level ART, then the person is administered advanced ART which is expensive owing to the fact that the medicine is a new entrant. Once the person inevitably gets into AIDS phase; the life span halts upon acquiring an OI from which there is no way out. You will be surprised how many people do not know this information about HIV. This has most commonly resulted into stigma for the positive patient that is unlike in the case of Cancer, Diabetes and other potentially terminal illnesses. Much of the stigma arises from the perceptions around morality. Considering that other illnesses are caused owing to physiological complications within the self; HIV is caused due to harmful exposure to external elements.
“Erin Peltier (the girl in the picture) is positive she can help @OCASF (Orange County AIDS Services Foundation) end the epidemic by 2025! What makes you an ally to the HIV/AIDS community? Share your #ImPositive!#ASF #OC #EndingTheEpidemic”
“Dustin (the guy in the Superman picture) is positive and NOT ashamed! Share your support for Dustin and others affected by HIV/AIDS and share your #ImPositive with us! #ASF #OC”
As this blog is being written, medical science has already improved. Watch Patience Mthunzi’s TEDx talk, “Could we cure HIV with lasers?” and read The Telegraph’s article dated 24 July 2017, “Hopes for future HIV cure revived as South African child becomes third in remission”. Above all, please know that the knowledge of impending death is daunting for every human. Instead of taking the unjustified moral high ground, we should extend moral support instead. In any case, there are ancient problems are race deals with – territorial disputes, caste, creed and racial strife. This is manifested through economic dominion of few over the masses, refugee crisis and nuclear threats. We really need to work on our humanity if we need this world to be a better place.
Mr. Amitabh Kumar, Head of Media and Communications at The Centre for Social Research believes, “Social media campaigns are great at raising awareness and engaging people, the social stigma against HIV positive people needs to be broken down. We need to ensure we are well informed and approach the disease with a scientific perspective rather than a moral one.”