How did it get to be December?
And suddenly it is World Aids Day.
I have been involved in HIV education and counselling since 1993 and it is a totally different world today compared to how we dealt with HIV then. I did a lot of work in helping people to accept death and making peace with their lives.
I was involved in trying to reduce stigma towards people living with HIV.
Today it is clearly not a death sentence to be diagnosed with HIV. People live long and healthy lives with HIV. And people are generally OK enough to make their status public.
What would be ideal though would be if less people were becoming infected with HIV through abusive relationships.
I still see a lot of women who feel powerless against their abusive spouses who do not care to use condoms even though they know that they are putting themselves and their partners at risk.
These are the people who worry me the most.
So it is OK to say out loud that you are HIV positive but it is not OK to ask your partner to use a condom and be respected for your choice?
My real wish is that AIDS day is not just something that comes along once a year and everyone wears red ribbons, lights candles and says a prayer. My wish is for people to have freedom within their relationships. To have the right to stand up and say no.
No to having unprotected sex, no to being treated as less worthy, no to having to answer to somebody, no to being abused in any kind of way.
To everyone who is going through a hard time – here’s to you – you, the survivor, you – with a voice to be heard.
I am constantly inspired by people like you who keep on going no matter how tough it is.
Thank you for making the choice to do things differently!