What comes to mind when you hear the word “stigmatization”? As for me, I think about the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS patients and people with other communicable diseases like Hepatitis, Measles, COVID-19, Ebola and the likes. And a communicable disease is one that can be transmitted from one person to another.
I was talking to a man yesterday, and he told me the story of a lady that he loved. The lady was “beautiful” and he wanted them to be together, but he wasn’t aware of her medical condition initially, that she was an HIV patient. When he found out, he was devastated and could not bring himself to ask the lady out.
I then asked him, “Is being an HIV positive a deal breaker?” He looked at me in a funny manner, but he didn’t give me an answer. Instead, he threw the question right back at me. I answered with this “Left to me, I’d take an HIV patient over an Hepatitis patient because I am aware of ways to live with an HIV patient without getting infected.”
He reasoned with me and realized that people with communicable diseases can actually be loved so far the partner is knowledgeable about the disease and is willing to take the necessary steps to stay clean and not get infected.
He later mentioned how HIV patients get sacked or leave their jobs due to stigmatization. And that got me thinking as to what goes on in the minds of people with these diseases. And the big time question I thought of was, how do they cope?
One thing I am sure of is that with increased knowledge of these diseases, the rate at which such people are stigmatized can be reduced drastically.
Also, stigmatization is not limited to people with communicable diseases, it goes far beyond that and as fellow humans, learning to accept the differences of other humans is what makes us humane.
As you stop reading, know that we all are different and everyone deserves to be loved.
Until next time, much love!