As an African American woman living with HIV, I have come to realize that, to a great extent, that I am privileged.
and privilege all in one sentence.
It might sound like an oxymoron but
I have many people in my life that love me.
For this, I am blessed and do not take it for granted.
I was always taught that we (family) are all that we have.
It is the most obscure concept to me that there are people who exist in this world without ever having a chance to experience what it feels like to be loved and accepted.
HIV or not.
So it really blows my mind when I hear stories of people who are mistreated by their own loved ones for any reason.
But especially HIV.
This one lady was telling me about how when she goes to visit her family, she is made to drink from paper products because she is living with HIV.
She has caught family members cleaning the bathroom after she had used it.
You know, to make sure she correctly used the Lysol wipes on the toilet seat, like she had been instructed to. 😑
(You can’t even get HIV like that idiots. You can like this though).
But for reasons like this, she says that she no longer visits them.
Damn, that’s how family do?
Then, I met this person who just contracted the virus the middle part of 2018.
They have not been back for medical care since the time of diagnosis and can’t tell anyone due to the fear of being ridiculed by those around.
Damn, nobody? Not even ya ma?
Little people, walking around thinking that they are battling some other immune compromising disorder because their families have yet to break it to them that it is actually HIV that they are living with.
So y’all gone just keep lying to him so he can grow up and resent y’all for that too?
None of this says acceptance.
It all saddens me quite a bit.
Tip: We all need a little compassion sometimes.
I can’t imagine living their pain and hurt.
I couldn’t imagine being isolated by my own family only to be thrown into a society who doesn’t really want you either.
THIS is when I recognized my privilege.
I recognized that those in my support system are why I have the courage to speak out.
I acknowledged that I have a large group of people around me that support my mission and never make me feel a type way about it.
And I thank God everyday for them.
Because, without them – I would probably be somewhere living in fear and isolation.
I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it.
But let’s just be honest, the people who are suffering in silence could well be one of your family members.
Or choir mates.
Too afraid of what would be said/done if they disclosed their positive HIV results.
What not to do: Don’t be that person they fear.
It makes life that much easier when you can walk through it with the ones you love.
I’m living proof.
+ Ci Ci +