Throw the stereotypes and the series of denials out of the window because it won't help you.
There's always a struggle and we will never know everyone's struggle. One thing to make note of is that those who are struggling, struggling to right a wrong, for justice, for fairness, and so forth are not asking for a hand out, but a hand up.
When I attended a World AIDS Day seminar at The Institute of Contemporary Art and the movie screenings at the International House on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia, PA, with a friend, my world was turned completely upside down in a good way.
While I did have a basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS, I did not know the magnitude of HIV/AIDS and how it began to affect the United States when I just a baby in the mid 80s. So, going the event at UPenn was a real eye opener.
I see commercials that tell us to help fight AIDS in Africa, but what I rarely see are commercials in the United States promoting safe sex, addressing the stereotypes, and providing information about HIV/AIDS. I'm sure they exist, but I haven't seen much of them lately. What I do remember are the commercials from the late 80s/early 90's explaining how you cannot tell is someone has HIV.
|NOT OVER visualAIDS.org|
I commend the groups, like ACT UP who were trailblazers during the height of the epidemic when little, no, or slow treatment was provided, and paved the way for those who were affected by HIV/AIDS, whether it's the person who has HIV or AIDS or a family member/friend who is supporting their loved one through the ordeal.
From a holistic standpoint, since this is a holistic blog, we must remember that love is eternal. My godfather passed away from AIDS in the early 90s and I had no clue what any part of his death meant, but I knew that he was a good person, I knew that he lived his life to the best of his ability, and I knew that he was surrounded by people who loved him dearly to the bitter end.
Furthermore, it's okay to feel angry, upset, confused, embarrassed, and whatever else you're feeling. Take those feelings and transmute it into a loving energy that will work towards the higher goal of supporting people and the cause.
We must remember that it is our love to survive, to thrive, to live, that will give us the energy to have the passion to do what needs to be done, which can mean hosting a support group, lecturing a class about prevention, or telling people your story so that they can relate a 'human being' to what's going on in stead of hearing a bunch of 'percentages', which can make it impersonal.
The reason why I emphasized on 'human being' as opposed to 'percentages' is because an understanding needs to be made that HIV/AIDS is not something that only affects a certain demographic and the popular thought of 'it won't happen to me' is not a healthy way of thinking. People are affected.
Again, I was very pleased with the seminar and movie screenings. It was a very emotional, but enlightening day.