Statistics from January 2011 show that in Canada 0.30% of the population between 15- 49 is infected with the HIV virus. That is aabout 1 in every 300 people in that demographic.
In Botswana the rate for the same demographic is 30%. That is a staggering 30 in every 100 people. One thing is the same in both. STIGMA
Maybe that is why we sometimes think "it won't affect me, that it's OVER THERE, not HERE."
To be honest, before starting to write this I was not entirely sure where Botswana was. But with poverty and lack of medicine there and many other countries, I am sure, where the mortality rate is staggering.
"It won't affect me" How many have said that that are now HIV positive?
"I don't know anyone with HIV". Eventually you likely will.
"I already donate to a charity". Donations need not always be dollars; you can give of your time - and imagine the learning you will do along the way.
"Isn't that the disease the gay men spread?" Still a prevalent and ill-informed piece of info.
"God's Wrath!" ??????
"I am not at risk !" Do you know the risk factors?
These are only some reasons or "excuses" I have heard when discussing HIV and AIDS. Surprisingly many who say these can be the more mature, educated people.
0.30% in Canada aged 15-49 are HIV-positive. That number continues to grow on a daily basis.
Is stigma and ignorance and lack of compassion still rampant? Yes
Have the early days of HIV/AIDS media reports left people with such fear?
We seem to care more, at times, about Kim Kardashian having artificial testicles in her boxer dog after being fixed because it didn't quite look right without them dangling!
HIV AIDS is not trivial entertainment. There is nothing trivial nor entertaining about it. It is very serious.
I wonder if one person among the 300 others on a subway was to announce "I am HIV positive" or wear a t-shirt stating the same. Would people move away from him/her? Would they sit beside him/her ? Would anyone get off of the subway ?
If so, those are unfounded fears - fears developed over time from lack of education, ignorance and stigma.
It reminds me a bit of "to the back of the bus" and the "coloureds only" drinking fountains.
Would I sit with someone who was HIV positive or has AIDS? YES.
Would I move away from them ? NO.
Would I get off the subway at the next stop? NO. (I would also give a hug if they wanted it.)
Would people back away from me if they knew I had hugged someone HIV positive or had AIDS- or kissed them?
Some have; but then again they could not truly have been my friends. Stigma. Ignorance. Still here in 2012. Perhaps more rampant than HIV and AIDS. And that is truly a saddening thing. Stigma and lack of compassion can crush peoples souls.