Jan. 12, 2017

Please be kind.

The human capacity for hatred, ignorance, and ugliness never ceases to astound me.  As many of my friends and family know, I like to share and post about HIV, the effect it has on people outside of the medical sphere, and education.  Tonight, I read yet another article on stigma and on how those living with HIV need to remain strong regardless of what face it happens to come from.  As I finished reading it, I happened to glance at the comments.  One comment struck me hard.  I don’t know why, since it was not the first one of its like I’ve read.  The gist was that people with HIV deserve to die from it.  REALLY?  Other commenters responded to the poster with equal hatred and ignorance.  However, there was one response that seemed to be full of understanding and even wished them the best.  That poster’s response was, “you obviously have HIV so you can take your poisonous wishes and die.  This world doesn’t need people like you in it.”  WOW.

Outside of my response to books by particular authors, I’m someone who reacts with either stoicism or sarcasm.  I do not often show my emotions.  It’s an old habit.  However, upon reading that one response, I just burst into tears.  Why would someone say such ugly things to someone they don’t know?  Why share such ugliness?  Doesn’t the world have more than it needs already?  And how can they respond like that to someone who responded to their hate-filled post with positivity and well-wishes?  Now, I don’t know their story.  Maybe they have a bad history with someone who had HIV who did them wrong somehow.  It thoroughly confounded me why I didn’t respond with the rage that was starting to simmer.  Now I know that it is because I don’t know that person’s life story and I don’t want to perpetuate the hate. 

This post isn’t just about being kind when or if you find out that someone in your life is living with HIV.  Although, it is my belief and hope that you would be kind because living with HIV is hard enough without being shunned for it.  This post is about being kind.  Period.  You don’t always know everything that someone else is going through.  If you love them, love them through whatever they are fighting.  If you care for them, care for them through it.  You never know which way your action or inaction weighs on the scale of another’s life.

Until later…be safe and be kind to one another.