D R . E L R O I


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stigma & Discrimination 4

Self stigma is something very familiar within the HIV and AIDS field. Often someone who test HIV positive believes that he or she is not valuable anymore. They fail to accept themselves, or over-blame themselves. They believe that they are incompetent, useless and even dangerous to other people. They believe that they will be dying soon, that they are too bad, too dirty, and too sinful to be accepted and/or to be forgiven.

This kind of stigma is very dangerous as it is often "invisible" - family members and friends might not even be aware of the feelings of this person. And as along as societal stigma related to HIV and AIDS exists, self-stigma will be a reality for many people. If we can eradicate societal stigma, we might be able to minimize self stigma!

This form of stigma was what I have experienced and it's really difficult to overcome with. But thank God we have Jesus Christ to save us and give another chance, another new life!

Self stigma is the reason why a lot of people tested HIV positive hides in the closet. If they continue to do this, they will never know what they are missing.

Next post I will discuss the impact of HIV related stigma.

Source: "Channels of Hope" workshop manual.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stigma & Discrimination 3

Like I have said there are two types or forms of stigma. The first one is the stigma which happens in the society called societal stigma.

We observe people being isolated, insulted, judged and blamed. People talk and conduct themselves in ways that make other people feel devalued, ashamed, worthless, and guilty or discriminated against. This often happens to people who are HIV positive or are battling with HIV related illness.

In some instances not only one person is stigmatized but a whole family can suffer because they are associated with the person who is stigmatized. We call this "stigma by association". Another example of this form of stigma is when a person is discriminated against because of their association with a specific group of people, e.g. the family the person belongs to, or clan, or even the church he belongs to. In the same way, a whole family can experience stigma when one member tests HIV positive. Children often experience stigma when their parents fall ill or die because of HIV.

People can also be stigmatized because of their appearance, what they look like or even their occupation. How often has it happened the people who were falling ill or were losing weight were stigmatized because people thought they might be HIV positive!

And then there is something called "self stigma" which I will talk about on my next post.

Source: "Channels of Hope" workshop manual.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

Happy Birthday To Me

If you’d never been born, what would you be?

You could have been a rock, a toad or a tree.
Or worse than all that, you could have been a wasn’t.
Now a wasn’t has no fun at all, no he doesn’t.
A wasn’t just isn’t. He isn’t present
but you, you’re right here, now isn’t that pleasant?

Today you are you and it is truer than true
that there’s no one alive that is you-er than you.
Shout out loud I’m glad of who I am.

Thank God I’m not a rock
a clam or a ham or a dusty old jar of gooseberry jam.
I am what I am
and it’s a great thing to be
and if I should say so myself, Happy Birthday to me!

This poem was written by Dr.Seuss from the book "Happy Birthday To You" also written by him. He also wrote "Horton Hears a Who". I dedicate this poem to myself because today is my spiritual birthday, the day when I received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.

Next post, I will continue the stigma and discrimination topic.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Discriminated or Not?

Before I continue with the topic let me share with you the verdict of my job application to this Christian NGO.

Last Wednesday, this person who interviewed me summoned my presence to their office just to explain their reason why they came up with the decision not to accept me to fill in the position of HIV & AIDS Coordinator.

She said that it was not discrimination on their part and their decision has nothing to do with my HIV status. It's just that they are afraid that while I am doing the duties and responsibilities of the job, something bad and health related might happen to me due to the long working hours and the workload. They have this culture that the employees tend to work and work and work for long hours and probably they thought that this might affect my health condition.

Ok. I am functioning normally and I am feeling very healthy. In fact I don't feel anything bad or abnormalities physically. In short, I am perfectly alright. Perhaps they don't want to take responsibility if something happened to me, but what about the meaningful involvement of PLWH to the advocacy programs? Besides, the working lifestyle depends on the person and I believe I am capable of having a healthy working lifestyle. In addition to that, they can choose not to give me too much load on work if that is their dilemma. I have seen the job description and I guess I can perform them within the normal working hours and a little beyond that if it calls for it.

Well, I have decided not to hold any grudges or bad feelings or thoughts towards them and their decision. I strongly believe that the Lord has something bigger and better for me where He can use me more and where I can serve Him better and reach out to many people. I still thank God for this and all the blessings. Jeremiah 29:11 says, for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Am I discriminated or not? Be the judge.