It doesn’t seem possible that it is ten weeks tomorrow since I was diagnosed. On occasions it feels like it was just yesterday, yet on others it feels like I have been living with this for years. Of course, it may well be that I have been living with being HIV+ for years — but without actually knowing so.
Today I volunteered with a local HIV centre as they were out on the streets trying to get funds for their much-needed work. What disheartened me was the way that some people walked past and said loudly “HIV – oh they brought it on themselves”. Another few people managed to say to each other “Ah, sure it’s a problem in Africa, but no one has HIV here” without realising that the person standing with the collecting tin was actually HIV+.
So it seems that there is still a lot of education work that needs to be done. The wider society needs to know that HIV is here, it’s not just in Africa. And that all sorts of people are living with it.
I have to say, however, that there were some great people who came up and put money in the tin, took a red ribbon, and put it on. They ranged from young professionals to elderly ladies, and they all put the ribbon on.
So today, I feel a mixture of emotions. Happiness that we do manage to get some money raised, sadness at the views that are still abroad in society, but hope that we will all make society a better place to live especially for those who are HIV+.