Being on a cruise liner as a chaplain means also to be exposed to many different people and talking about God, the world, HOPE Cape Town and obviously HIV and AIDS. And suddenly one realizes again how different the worlds are we are living in. Standing casually last night watching the evening show I was chatting with the medical doctor on board. Naturally we are in close contact as our work portfolios touch each other and this time, we spend even more time together chatting and befriending each other besides the work. Speaking about my experience of HIV and AIDS in South Africa and my question, whether there are HIV rapid test on board the good doctor is not sure whether there are. In the ongoing conversation he admits never having treated a case of HIV and as the discussion goes along, he mentioned that in the case he would encounter such a case on board, he would advice the person to leave the ship. I was stunned. Not that he had any reservations or discriminatory thoughts about people living with HIV. It was simple, that for him, HIV was an unknown syndrome, not present while he was studying and never present to his knowledge in his rooms.
Knowing how he cares about patients I wondered till I was falling asleep that for me HIV was such a “normal” factor of life while for him it was something unknown in practice and even far away in theory. Indeed different worlds and a reminder, that often we think, our environment, our knowledge, our expertise is normal to all others – and it is not. I hope that my talk tomorrow about the work we are doing with HOPE Cape Town in South Africa will open up some minds and hearts and contribute to a better dealing with HIV and AIDS in an European environment.
- Vetting the press… (stefanhippler.com)
- Dancing to promote HIV/AIDS awareness (rappler.com)
- 10 Things We’ve Learned About HIV/AIDS This Year (huffingtonpost.com)