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Push Away The Stigma!

PLWHA; Peoples Living with HIV and AIDS. Do you know someone from this group? If yes, did you treat them same like you treat the others? People living with HIV/AIDS are one of the groups that are always isolated and stigmatized. 

How are they stigmatized? 

One of the stigma towards them is by spreading the false idea of HIV ​​transmission from the carriers to the others. Most of us think that the virus could be transmitted by skin touch, insect bites, sweats, tears, sharing toilet, cups, spoons and plates. By these false ideas, the society keeps staying away from the PLWHA. 

HIV only can be transmitted through blood as the blood contains the highest concentration of the virus. Other than blood, the thick fluid within the body also contain virus the most including semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. 

The activities that can lead to spreading of the virus are the unprotected sex, direct blood contact, for example, sharing the drug needles and breast feeding of an infected mother to her baby.

By these facts, we should know that most of the normal activities that did not involving the thick fluids from our body, cannot transmitting the virus. So why would we pushing away the patients but not pushing away our stigma and negative thinking about them?  

I was one of the students involved in Social Awareness Campaigns on HIV / AIDS. I and my group had visited an HIV/AIDS rehabilitation center in Bukit Mertajam, Penang. We had the opportunity to meet with Peoples living with HIV/AIDS more closely. We found them not as worse as portrayed by some peoples before this. 

People often describe that HIV patients had severe wounds on the body, too skinny and so forth. Otherwise, they are not so bad that Because they still can participate in activities that we organize there. We also held a sharing session where we found them were more open-minded and willing to share their experiences with others. 

In Malaysia, some patients were reported died of suicide as they cannot endure the pressures given by the society. Do we want this to happen all the time?  They are also the human being and deserves to be treated normally like the other peoples. They are not someone to be afraid of, we should support them and motivated them to keep surviving. They did not need other peoples' sympathy, but at least treat them right and equal as the others because they deserved it. 

It is true that they made ​​a mistake and has caused themselves infected with the virus that there is no cure. However, who are never make ​​a mistake? It is not our job to judge the others; we should help each other mutually. We are all the same, just that distinguishes us is the fate of a person. So let's push away the stigma. Fight the virus, not the patients. 

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