The Devastating News and the Stigma that Follows

She did a random health check-up as she did before. She had been sick for a few weeks before but she did expect anything other than negative as the results had always been.

But this time things were a bit different. She knew this when the doctor asked her if she wanted to get screened for other sexually transmitted diseases. The eye contact that was always there was absent this time round as she received her HIV test results.

She was positive.

Her heart sunk on receiving the results. Tears rolled down her eyes but the canceling section was warm. But what she did not know what to do is how to tell her friends and family that she was HIV positive. She understood the stigma that surrounded HIV victims. She understood that people normally associated the disease to one’s way of living.

The myths and misconception surrounding the disease see many people having prejudice, negative attitude and abuse towards people living with HIV /AIDS. This, in turn, leads to stigmatization and discrimination. In many cases, Stigma and discrimination manifest in many ways.

Discrimination and other human rights violations may occur in health care settings, barring people from accessing health services or enjoying quality health care. Some people living with HIV and other key affected populations are shunned by family, peers and the wider community, while others face poor treatment in educational and work settings, erosion of their rights, and psychological damage.

These all limit access to HIV testing, treatment, and other HIV/AIDS services. And this is all she was afraid of. The fear of stigma and discrimination was stronger than the fear of the disease. She was devastated, to say the least, and went through the cycle of shame.

She went into a depressed state for months, thinking that she would never be desired again that people would
judge her entire being on this new reality. And so she had to undergo an internalized stigma. She had never seen the vulnerability of death be as present as it was

She had never seen the vulnerability of death be as present as it was during this time. But she had to make a choice. She had the power to dictate the way her life was to take. She had a choice to led AIDS, stigma, discrimination, shame, distrust and apathy win as it has always won or she would defeat AIDS by trust, openness,
dialogue between herself, family and friends.

She had to choose to seek for support and human solidarity to path way for this new reality. And she never gave up, she believed that she was the dictator of her own life and having been infected didn’t make her less of a human being.

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