THE SOCIETY NOWADAYS AND ITS RELATIONS WITH HIV/AIDS ISSUE
“Education, awareness and prevention are the key, but stigmatisation and exclusion from family is what makes people suffer the most.”
Kurtis is one of many people that live with the destiny of getting HIV virus, due to the deep trust. He is 42 years old and has been infected by his wife, that enjoyed affair with unknown HIV carrier. At the end, Kurtis was just a victim of dangerous domino effect in our society. The virus found a way to jump from one to another, abusing weak human relations, the lack of knowledge, the sexual greed and egoism. It is not about the invisible microbe, it is about homo sapiens, as always.
The scientists came out with the new studies that show that virus HIV is among people for almost 100 years, earlier than they previously thought. The germ descended from a chimpanzee virus that made a big cross into the humans, when they butchered poor chimps. Isn’t that the irony ? The nature has its own perfect tool of defences against parasites and it sends to us when the time is right. That is exactly the story about the HIV virus that found a gap between urban development and primitive behaviour and has been officially born in Africa. Some person got the virus and moved into the more populated area, starting with prostitution and opening the Pandoras box. According to New York Times article:“Key to the new work was the discovery of an HIV sample that had been taken from a woman in Kinshasa in 1960. It was only the second such sample to be found from before 1976; the other was from 1959, also from Kinshasa.Researchers took advantage of the fact that HIV mutates rapidly. So two strains from a common ancestor quickly become less and less alike in their genetic material over time. That allows scientists to “run the clock backward” by calculating how long it would take for various strains to become as different as they are observed to be. That would indicate when they both sprang from their most recent common ancestor.Researchers got various answers under various approaches for when that ancestor virus appeared, but the 1884-1924 bracket is probably the most reliable”
Whatever it is, virus is among us longer than we all knew and it made the big devotions and discrepancy in our world. Being infected with HIV virus or even sick from AIDS is almost like being labeled as new age Plague or Leprosies patient. You don’t get just diagnosis, you also get your own cross, your stigma that change your life forever, more than illness itself. If we go back to our friend Kurtis, we will learn that life with virus is not so demanding as the society condemns towards HIV population. What is about that HIV shaming and how that cause the social problems ? There is no way to work on HIV prevention and AIDS limitations if you deal with basic discrimination that influence the healthcare projects and efforts. This is a serious problem that is often not defined as problem but rather as situation in public. Then, it is time something to be done, something to be addressed and changed, if we claim that we are the most intelligent species with high compassion, what I personally doubt.
Kurtis said to me that he doesn’t know how to live life without being discriminated, shamed, condemned, terrorised, even he is the one who could feel the world anger, with all rights. He feels excluded, hated and isolated like there is a life in quarantine till the rest of his existence. Sometimes, based on his words, he even thinks to give up on all and let AIDS get him so the horror could be ended. Kurtis is not the only one and each of those stories has something in common, the STIGMA that our society projected on people who are sick. What is the reason behind that trend ? First, it is the lack of education, as always. It is the terror of primitive ideas, backward theories and the circulation of wrong information. The saddest thing is that such trend is not only in different social layers but also in the health care sector, where must be eliminated as soon as possible. You cant talk about progress and advanced development and having doctors and nurses that promote HIV/AIDS discrimination and shaming. It is NO GO.
The world is aware of HIV/AIDS every December, 1st and then we hear how important is and how crucial is to work on prevention and education. What is happening behind the closed doors of clinics in between ? It is happening HIV/AIDS shaming and discrimination and nobody talks about it, like will be condemned almost like those who deal with virus or illness itself.
The social prejudice is making things wrong because people who live under risky conditions are afraid to test themselves and do something for their health or, at least, against potential sickness. In USA has been reported that about 1,1 million people are living with HIV today. In fact, almost 15% of them even don’t know they have HIV ( 1 in 7) or 165,000 people that are unaware of presence of HIV in their life. This is very disccouraging since those people put another groups under the risk to get into the HIV club. The awareness must be empowered and those who have doubts about HIV need to prove those fears or to deal with it, before we get the virus more and more active within the society. The HIV/AIDS stigma is that rooted evil that makes all attempts failed. Europe is also known for this discrimination, especially is the sad story from Ukraine, where 240,000 people live with HIV/AIDS and report system human rights violations. Some of brave women over there are fighting to expose those who make discrimination, especially is bad among medical workers who tap about virus with code B20 or calling “this”. Germany and Romania are also on the list with tackling HIV/AIDS stigma but other EU lands too. There is no perfect country and society that learnt how to deal with HIV/AIDS stigma. It is still a big work ahead for the whole world. When you read stories from people from USA, Ukraine, Germany, Italy, South Africa or India, you have a conclusion that all those stories are more or less the same, on the surface. The tragedy deep inside is always pretty much individual, coloured with local customs and the level of social understanding and knowledge. Those people are someone’s children, partners, siblings and friends and not just the carriers of the virus or dangerous diseases. We need to give them place and time to heal themselves and to accept the idea that life with virus is possible and must be cherished too. They shouldn’t give up on the future only because of some uneducated Puritans who claim they know what is the Gods decision and opinion. Remember, such people butchered chimps and invited the virus in our dance. They need to step out and let others live their life the best way they can.
The HIV/AIDS stigma is not just the regression of the modern society but the one of the worst symptoms of social egoism, lack of empathy and the failed emotional intelligence that targeted homo sapiens.
Don’t blame virus for that, blame the humans who have deleted the borders between nature and urban world.
One thought on “HIV/AIDS STIGMA : THE OMEN OF BEING SICK”
Sarah’s poignant and invaluable article emphasizes the negative impacts on Nature from the linear human world, on the level of microorganisms and viruses.
Using Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) -1 sequences preserved in human bio-samples, along with estimates of viral mutation rates, scientists have documented that the transition from chimpanzees to humans first emerged in the early-20th century, due to rapid urbanisation associated with European colonialism in Eastern Africa.
In 2008, a study analysing viral sequences recovered from a biopsy made in Kinshasa, The Congo, in 1960, along with previously-known sequences, suggested a common ancestor between 1873 and 1933, which connects European industrial, agricultural and urban expansion there, at that time.
Ironically, further research of transmission has been hindered by the fact that many species of primates are now endangered in Africa.
The European expansions across Africa resulted in large numbers of Africans (i.e. cheap labour resource) being housed in sprawling cities, which gave rise to an increase in non-monogamous sexual activity between heterosexuals, increases in prostitution and the noxious-ignorance of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) among both Europeans and Africans.
The European railway networks across Africa guaranteed the wider spread of HIV-1.
Also, European colonial authorities (1900-1930) administered vaccinations against smallpox without sterilising needles of syringes, which resulted in further spread of HIV-1.
Ostensibly, the conditions of extreme stress associated with forced labour (e.g. European mines in Africa) impacted on the immune system of workers. Therefore, prolonging the primary acute infection period of someone newly-infected by Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV). Thus, increasing the odds of both adaptation of the virus to humans, and of further transmissions…