God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Infected!? – an interesting approach…

Reading through several blogs I came across the following lines:

Infected! Oh, My!
April 5, 2014
From TheBody.com

I'm not 'infected' with HIV ... I'm 'living' with HIV!

How many of you remember being told that you had tested positive for the antibodies which cause HIV? I remember it like it was yesterday! The results were shocking, nothing would EVER be the same! I was filled with dread, I was filled with shame, and I was filled with fear. Took me a few years to get comfortable in my skin. And so, as most of us activists/advocates take deeper looks at words, I found a word which is offensive to me, particularly in the HIV platform — but could very well fit any situation. The word “infected” bothers me. Dictionary.com gives these few definitions of the verb ‘infected’:

  • contaminated
  • tainted
  • corrupted

These are not words most of us would like to be associated with, whatever our medical condition. I believe that one of the first steps to living a more positive life, begins in how we think about ourselves. We cannot be healthy or begin on a holistic journey, if we think of ourselves as contaminated or tainted or corrupted.  By the same token, if society puts that label on us, it is no wonder they would feel they need to distance themselves from us or place us in boxes which stigmatize us.
The truth of the matter is: I am not tainted. I am not corrupted. Nor am I contaminated.
That being said: neither are you.
“As you think, so shall you become” — Bruce Lee
(copyright TheBody.com )

I never thought about it that way, but while reading I sense it has its merit to have such a point of view.  Stigmatization has many levels – it started on the caring level in Primary Health Care Facilities in the beginning of the pandemic, when there was the certain bench people had to wait, the special door to receive counseling and advice, the milk products handed out in full view of other patients, which clearly identified mothers being HIV positive.  And it continues in our days still when HIV positive people want to travel or they are looking for employment . It even continues in our churches when we priests or communities fail to appreciate the blessings of somebody going through the life changing experience of discovering to be positive.

I personally like the word “positive” – it opens up the horizon of  hope and light and a chance to change life to the better.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

HIV, Development and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and social development in Africa has its challenges. You will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa, about politics and whatever triggers my interest. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me. Blogging means to initiate thoughts and discussions and for the writer to formulate what is loosely running around in the heart and mind in need of being sorted and spoken out.

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© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
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