April 9, 2008

A Few Intense Thoughts on HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS could be described as the most unique an disease this world has faced. The disease itself and those affected by it bring a very different moral aspect to an illness. From the first cases of diagnosed HIV/AIDS the disease has left much confusion and many unanswered questions. In the beginning of AIDS in America the disease was thought to be the “Gay mans disease” and was thought to reside only in homosexual men. Many believed that it was God’s way of punishing homosexuals for engaging in unclean acts or participating in activities that were impure. Has this idea of the disease being a punishment been done away with? The stigmas related to HIV/AIDS are found all throughout the world.

In Southeast Asian countries the sex industry thrives. Many people involved in the industry have been or will be impacted by HIV/AIDS. Efforts to encourage and even enforce condom usage in sexual interactions have had promising effects and are ever being implemented. But is the disease considered a moral issue? Is it seen as something of a punishment? Religious contexts of many different religions see sexual intercourse with sex workers as abominable. By various religions it is believed that people who are involved in sexual activities outside the bounds of marriage are sinners. The main means of HIV/AIDS transmission is through sexual relations. Would it be fair to state that this disease is a way of punishing the sinners, the people who break the laws of God?

If this is the case then what of those thousands if not millions of women and men who are faithful to their partners who become affected by their partners actions? In Africa the number of women infected with HIV/AID has surpassed that of men yet it is shown that it is often the men who bring the disease home to their families and communities. Are these women then being punished for the actions of their partners? Along the same lines what of those early hemophiliacs who through untested or impure blood transfusions, here in the Unites States, were infected with HIV? Many of them were very mistreated and school children were forced out of schools because of fear.

I do not wish to answer this question in regards to the moral and religious opinion of HIV/AIDS but merely wish to raise thoughts and ideas pertaining to this disease. I personally do not feel it is our place as human beings to make such judgment calls. The truth of the matter is that HIV/AIDS is a major problem and is continuing to spread. It is an issue that needs to be addressed. Aid needs to be given to those countries especially where it is spreading in epidemic proportions. I have a firm belief that it is our responsibility to try and protect the victims of this disease in any way possible. In order to do this there needs to be a comfort level for people affected to feel that they are able to speak up and receive help. We do not need to agree with or condone any act that we feel is unacceptable, but it is not our place to place judgment on people who are affected with this deadly disease.