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||FALLING IN LOVE WITH
HIV / AIDS
||What would be your response
when someone approaches and shares with you openly
about their life? And this is what someone said…
“I was tested HIV positive. What does
that mean? My family members were informed by
the doctor about my health status. They changed.
They gave me a cup; a plate and I can’t
help myself to cooked dishes and drinks. I was
told not to touch or hold my nephew. I have
to be cautious with my movement in the house.
They don’t care about how I feel but I
have to be sensitive to their needs. I am angry
and disappointed and I don’t feel like
going home anymore.”
Initially, I was very uneasy having to listen
to these conversations. I didn’t know what
to say and how to react. Many times, I made wrong
moves, passed judgments and blamed them for being
“My teacher said I have DIRTY blood.
I mustn’t play with my classmates. In
the class, I sit by myself in one corner. Nobody
talks to me, plays with me or eats with me.
Why!!! I am so lonely and I don’t want
to go to school anymore.”
“People said an HIV person cannot get
married; cannot have children and have to stay
single. I have to use a condom if I want to
have sex. And God has punished me for my wrong
doings. I am a sinful person. That is why I
“I love my husband very much. I know
he is HIV positive but I don’t care. I
want to start a family with him. I made a decision
to have sex with him without condom so that
I could get pregnant. We have a child now but
why does the society including our families
could not and refused to support us in achieving
our dream. Am I wrong to have a baby with him?
It is OK to be HIV positive. I don’t have
problem with it but you do.”
Then I learnt to embrace and love HIV/AIDS. I started
to see and feel differently whenever I am with people
living with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA). I am experiencing
each and every being, they are beautiful, loving
and have dreams.
They live their life with hopes and treasure every
moment they have. They give and share openly when
acceptance and openness are shown. It gives them
a safe platform to express themselves. They feel
relieved for being able to share their secret and
their eyes sparkle with joy.
They are empowered and learn to be responsible individuals.
They see the importance to tell their love ones
about their HIV status. I am learning that they
are very gutsy, brave, daring and highly determination
individuals to live to their fullest.
But what’s stopping many other PLWHAs from
doing the same thing? The answer is us, the society.
We cannot accept and discriminate them out of fear.
We don’t care and are rude to them. We become
very judgmental and start to curse them. We pray
that they would die faster and not burden us.
We take life for granted. We are safe from HIV/AIDS
because we don’t take drugs, have sex with
multiple partners and no blood transfusion. Is that
true? How sure are you?
I would like to share that I feel so safe being
with them. By knowing their HIV status help me to
look after myself. I could have been infected by
my husband if he is very secretive about his past
life. Thus, do you want people around you to be
honest or to lie about their health status? And
our non-acceptance behavior could have driven them
to be more aggressive, revengeful, angry and hurt.
They in return may decide to spread the virus and
infect others deliberately.
Today in your life, you have to make a decision
both to fall in love and embrace HIV/AIDS. I would
like to challenge you to make a shift in your being
to enable you to experience differently. Take joy
and love in everything you do especially in the
area of HIV / AIDS.
I am sharing my real experiences having to work
with PLWHA at Pusat Serenti. This is the first time
I am feeling differently because I have shifted
in my belief about HIV / AIDS issues. I am falling
in love with HIV / AIDS. So CAN you.
Penang Family Planning Association