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Meandering thoughts of a Bay Area college student… be prepared for some bipolar vocabulary

You know what’s not fun? AIDS

This quarter I have taken a wonderful class known as “AIDS and Society”. I must say that this class has been one of the many highlights of my college experience; it has taught me so much about the ways people blame each other and how stigma is one of the greatest killers of people in history.

In many ways, taking this class has opened my mind to the incredible complexity of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and the vast social issues that accompanied the virus. It was so interesting to learn about how a simple virus can have so many important implications in our society through discrimination and the stigma associated with it. For some classes, I do regret choosing the course and wonder why I am still in the class. For AIDS and Society, I have never thought of that. Every day, I am immersed in a plethora of new information about how the virus affects the lives of the people infected with it and how society fails to completely eradicate the virus due to flawed cultural politics and hate. The course has opened my eyes to another world where people are dying every day from the fear and discrimination attached to the label, AIDS, and not from the virus itself. We possess in our hands the capability to hinder the progression of the virus into the final stages leading to AIDS and we have the ability to stop the transmission of the virus once and for all; yet, with all of the efforts leading up to the reduction of the viral transmissions throughout the world, we are still incapable of completely removing the virus from existence because people are too afraid to be tested due to the stigma of homosexuality or being sexually promiscuous.

I once believed that the only way to remove the virus from our communities is to work through scientific discoveries in order to completely nullify the dangers of HIV/AIDS. I now realize that it takes more than simply science to remove a virus that is so deeply entrenched in our society as well as our own biological systems. AIDS is something that has become widely feared and anything that is feared will be stigmatized and discriminated against. The deadly nature of the virus makes it very easy to exclude individuals infected with it and cast away from the rest of society. These individuals, despite the fact that they may be infected with the virus, will choose to not take any tests to confirm that for fear of being shunned and misunderstood by the rest of their own community. AIDS is something that not only destroys life, but it is something more that sucks away the foundations of security and the sense of community that the infected once had with their own families and friends. It is a lonely battle for an AIDS patient who is from a community of people who do not fully understand the virus and misinterpret the implications of the condition, AIDS.

I now know that there is a multi-faceted image of AIDS and, to completely remove its existence and the suffering it brings throughout the world, we must first attack the many faces of the virus that causes the condition. There is a biological face, just as there is a human face. There are many issues that we must confront to remove the stigma associated with the virus and the people infected with it.

I now know that we must first tackle the social issues that confronts HIV-infected individuals before we can use any science to help. We must first reduce the stigma associated with the virus and the misinformation that circulates within communities throughout the world.

I do not know what I will do with the information I have learned, but I will do something when the situation calls for it. I hope to spread the knowledge of the AIDS and its implications in society so that we all have a better understanding of the virus. We can work toward a better future where discrimination and stigma is completely removed from any object or idea and not just AIDS. I know that I will do my part in this fight, not matter how small or insignificant it may seem and, hopefully, others will join me in our struggle towards the elimination of AIDS from our bodies and from our society.

-Eddie

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Filed under: General

One Response

  1. Audrey says:

    hey eddie, have you read “The Invisible Cure” by Helen Epstein by any chance?

    I also had to write an essay on AIDS, and the book really covers all the social implications of this disease and how it can be prevented. It’s an insightful read if you’ve got the time!

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