Stigmatized by AIDS
Date posted: April 28, 2009
A week ago I was watching OTV's new show – Baladna – for the first time and they were talking about AIDS. As usual there were two camps; a guy (I wish I could recall his name) who was calling for the integration of the AIDS patient into the society, and a woman who supposedly represents the voice of religion. There was also an AIDS patient on the show .. sitting in the dark to avoid the AIDS stigma.
I will start with the woman's argument. She basically said that there are two types of people with AIDS. The First type are those who got it through illigitimate sexual encounters. The second type are those who got it by an accident – like blood transfusion or an infected marriage partner. Then she called for discriminating between the two types because the first type is a criminal and the second type is a victim. She literally said that those who belong to the first type deserve what they got and those who belong to the second type deserve sympathy – but both should be isolated in a colony of their own to avoid spreading their infection in the society.
The guy argued well but he was not given a fair chance to present his case (flawed presentation.) He said/wanted to say/ tried to say that because of such harsh opinions and clear ignorance AIDS is spreading fast in Egypt. People who have casual sex and multiple partners withold from getting tested for fear of being stigmatized. They would rather continue their sexual practices risking getting infected and infecting others. People who were not infected because of sex live among us and hide their illness for fear of being judged or isolated. He also attempted to make a very valid point: from a psychological perspective AIDS patients get angry and feel that life was not fair to them. Avoiding them only makes them angrier. If they cannot get jobs, if they cannot have friends, if they cannot get married, if they are always pointed out with disgust and apprehension, they will just get more infuriated and they will seek revenge; they will not get tested, they will not inform others of their illness, and they will get others infected just out of revenge.
The guy also tried to explain how people get infected with AIDS and how dealing with an AIDS patient at work or even at home does not mean that you will get infected. He tried to highlight how ignorance and false beliefs are adding fuel to the fire. He even told the woman that an AIDS patient could propose to her daughter and she wouldn't know … that an AIDS patient could be her colleague at work and she would never know … he had a lot of things to say but her was never given a chance … the voice of ignorance, judgment and rigidity seems to be louder than the voice of reason, compassion and tolerance.
Had I the chance, I would have called and told the women to shut her hole! She is not God … people like her are not God … no human being has the right to judge another human being … no human being has the right to discriminate against another human being … and a part of me wondered how would she feel if she had Hepatitis and people treated her like a plague? This holier than thou shit just drives me through the roof.