I can admit, that I’m small and just really nonexistent when it comes to the grand scope of hiv and who have the keys to the city. What I continue to find that advocates are on damage control. Why do I say that this is stigma, it’s not the outright in your face variety, this has a certain touch to it. Soft and yet blunt at the same time, I think we are headed for trouble and I really hope I’m wrong. I have read a not to happy comment about the open letter for Danny Pintauro, the comment that stood out was very harsh and direct to the one who wrote it. I understand both sides, you have to, though to understand what’s going on. When people talk about hiv, there needs to be 100% accuracy to it. Information seems to be law when it comes to us….those living with hiv, managing it, bringing awareness to it, so if the message comes out wrong, it’s a loose string to the security blanket that the community has gotten under, and the coverage starts to get smaller.
On the other hand, when you look at movies and testimonials, real life accounts of what hiv to aids really was, what it was about before the age of medication that gave back some life, why wouldn’t others speak out to protect the progress that was made, the road that is still to this day being paved with information, needed life saving information. One would say you fight tooth and nail for it. To protect those who still suffer who need shelter when there feels as though there isn’t. Speaking out in sea of oppression seems daunting but do able.
The stigma, it’s chains and weights that are made of Ill intentions, and at times malice. It doesn’t take much, yet it’s still used, even with people you want to have your back and it hurts deep when your on the receiving end. This morning I was with family holding my 9 month old nephew and breaking up pieces of my waffle and feeding him the smaller pieces and to be told that my nephew shouldn’t be eating after me, really hurt, it made me very upset. I thought to myself that’s the button, it’s that stigma space and she doesn’t even realize that she is doing it. It the subtle things like this I’m talking about. I know that I can’t pass it to my nephew that way, I do know another instance if I had something else, that I would not allow him to be eating after me. All day long I have seen twitter retweets on correcting these words put out there and to me in this moment resembles stigmatic speech, I felt shamed into a corner the morning, and if Danny has read anything out there I wouldn’t be surprised if and when he understands it, that he may feel shamed to and backed into a corner. I don’t think that it’s done with this kind of intent, but it’s there. If we don’t put a higher emphasis on community togetherness, not reverting to the same shame tactics that we have been accustomed to, we could make a profound difference in more people speaking out. Going down that road only leads to people thinking they need to hide and stay in the shadows and suffer in silence. My hope when others stumble upon this, give it a moments pause and reflect on how we personally affect the world around us.