My tears...and a plea.
There are very few times when I’m so upset that I’m in tears. I have extreme emotions and it takes a lot to get me to the point where I actively show them. Tears are not easily shed. Let’s just say this has been accumulating for a couple weeks now. Today’s incident sparked this post. Just a warning, this is about HIV/AIDS and stigma. You decide whether or not you want to keep reading.
People are free to share what they want to, whether they care about the effects on others or not. I am not throwing shade. My purpose of this is to get people to think. I don’t want to regulate what people share or post. I don’t want people to coddle each other. I want people to think. Free will, free country, right? Post what you want. However, I do have a plea. Please be careful of what you share or post. It could literally mean someone else’s life. Or death.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen warning posts about what other people are doing to spread HIV/AIDS to others. I can appreciate the “warning” part. What upsets me is when the information within the post is false. One particular post featured someone injecting fruit with “blood containing HIV and AIDS. With the aim of killing millions of people around the world.” Medical fact: HIV cannot survive outside the body. Another post shared the falsehood that you can get HIV from an infected person by sharing cups or utensils, and by using the same bathroom. Even after all these years, this myth still circulates and encourages ignorance. Nothing flips my switch faster than ignorance.
It is perpetuating the stigma. Stigma is wrong. It’s ugly. It may be the reason people take their own lives. Why is stigma so easily spread? Because of ignorance, of laziness to do a little bit of research. Because standing up for people living with this disease isn’t “cool”. Please. Stop stigma. Someone you like, care for, enjoy, love, or even adore could be fighting for their lives with this disease. Get educated. Sharing or posting something like what I mentioned could be pushing that one person fighting this horrible disease off the cliff. It’s a fight to keep away from that shaky edge. People living with HIV deserve love and kindness, too.
I’ve asked this before in a social media post: if I had HIV, would you no longer like me, care for me, enjoy me, or love me? If I bring anything good to your life, would that be negated by a disease that you cannot “catch” from me? If I have any kind of presence in your life, would that one post be worth losing it? If I love and care for you, and you post something like that and I take my life, is losing that love and care worth that one post?
I just ask that you think. Think about your effect on others. You have more power than you think.
If this post offends you and you decide that you and I can’t be friends, all I have to say is, best wishes. I have more, but I don’t want to end this post on that kind of note.
If you have to share anything, I ask that you think. I ask that you share love and kindness. You could be the one that unknowingly saves a life or enhances one.
Until later beautifuls…be safe and be kind to one another.