Is AIDS a judgment of God?
“Is AIDS a judgment of God?” There was a time when the likes of reverend Billy Graham would have us believe this was a perfectly innocent question. He had an answer for us too: “I could not say for sure, but I think so.” Good thing he had his thinking cap on, imagine what he’d throw out there if he wasn’t ‘thinking’. Fortunately times have changed. Even our reverend has had to educate himself. But that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear, people living with HIV still have to deal with prejudice… And yeah, it’s 2021.
Anne an Vusi are both living with HIV, one in the Netherlands and the other in South Africa. Their conversation is heartfelt and goes beyond their differences. ‘Do they bully you when you tell your story?’ Anne’s son asked her and he offered to protect her if they did. Anne and Vusi are visibly moved by his words, and she must feel proud to have raised him well. There’s hope for us humans yet.
They say prejudice is rooted in fear and ignorance, so just to be sure: an HIV infection is far from a death sentence anymore, if you take your medicine, you can live a long and healthy life with no risk of transmitting the virus to anyone. Our battle should be about making sure everyone has access to lifesaving medicine. No one dealing with (mental) health issues should have to face the additional burden of ignorance and stigma.
What should, and shouldn’t!, we say to someone struggling with their (mental) health?
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