HIV - Finding Love & Hope

Finding LOVE and HOPEHIV Positive

I am a Wellness Ambassador at my place of work in South Africa and I really have a passion lending a helping hand to people living with HIV, especially when people feel all hope has been lost and HIV is a death sentence.  HIV is not a death sentence at all. With the correct diet and treatment, love and support, just by managing your life differently, you can live a long and happy life.  I want people to know that the "stigma" of HIV need to be removed across the world and that you are loved and you are special.

In my own experience when I look at people living with HIV I find that one of the greatest struggles or restraints on their lives is the "stigma" of HIV.  People are so fearful.  People are fearful of being judged or discriminated against.  People already have certain beliefs and perceptions and it is extremely difficult to get that changed, therefore to take that first step to share their stories or to even just find "help" before they reach a terminal stage is not easy.   

According to 'chacha' HIV stigma refers to "prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse and maltreatment directed at people living with HIV and AIDS.  It can result in being shunned by family, peers and the wider community, poor treatment in healthcare and education settings". 

No time for thinking .. only time for action

Many believe that focusing on removing the stigma of HIV is not so important but rather the prevention of HIV. I do believe differently.  I know the prevention of HIV is extremely important but second to that is removing the stigma of HIV.  People will never be able to manage their status better or fight the fight if we don't stand together and try and get the stigma removed.  It is important not to judge BUT to love.  How would Jesus love the person living with HIV.  Just the same as He would love you and love me.  No different! So don't judge. Love the way Jesus would love.  When we stand by a person with HIV they would be able to manage their disease better on a personal level as well.  Others see how the stigma of HIV prevents people living with HIV to speak out and be open about their status, so, individuals will be reluctant to even test or seek treatment because of the "silence" factor ..  the "stigma". The stigma will never be removed until people learn not to judge but to love. So reach out your hand and make a difference. 

Mother Teresa had a famous quote and such true words "Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat".  We should never let this happen to anybody no matter what their circumstances. 

STIGMA DIVIDES PEOPLE

No one should have to feel that they need to be silent just because they are HIV positive. Why is it that other diseases don't have a stigma attached to it, only HIV. Stigma is also the one reason why HIV positive people are afraid to tell their families and loved ones about their status, they are scared of being rejected.

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