The left image is one of the most recognized HIV/AIDS posters ever produced, this image of a child with outstretched arms accompanied by the message, “I have AIDS, please hug me, I can’t make you sick,” has become a worldwide icon in the fight against HIV/AIDS discrimination. Inspired by the experience of Ryan White, a 13-year old hemophiliac with AIDS who was barred from school in 1985 and became a symbol of the intolerance that is inflicted on AIDS victims, this reproduction of a child’s drawing has a disarming quality that works closely with the textual message. This poster reflected the changed tone of the media coverage of AIDS following Ryan White’s courageous battle, which helped shift focus from ignorance and discrimination to acceptance and newfound knowledge of the fatal disease. Designed to evoke compassion, the simple yet powerful message in the poster has subsequently inspired a variety of spin-offs used by international AIDS awareness and education programs.[source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/visualculture/living.html]
Having said that people infected with AIDS sometimes face prejudice and discrimination, there are few things we need to know about AIDS or HIV so that we have better understanding of this disease.
We do not get HIV from:
- donating blood.
- mosquito bites or bites from other bugs.
- sneezes or coughs.
- touching, hugging or dry kissing a person with HIV.
- the urine or sweat of an infected person.
- public restrooms, saunas, showers or pools.
- sharing towels or clothing.
- sharing eating utensils or drinks.
- being friends with a person who has HIV/AIDS.
After I finished watching “By My Side“, a Singapore TV series, I felt touched. The drama series portraits a few characters infected with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and the problems they face every day and how their family and close friends’ life are affected. In the series, some people discriminate them and stay away from them.
When the main character, Bu-Fan knows he is contracted after having sex with a prostitute, he is unable to face up with the disease. He encounters problems like being rejected by friends, sacked by boss, and neighborhood’s discrimination. At first, the wife is at rage, disappointed with him and wants to divorce with him. His daughter hates because her friends stay away from playing with her and she is kicked out from her swimming class. However, Bu-Fan is always a good husband and father and because of that, his wife forgives and supports him and so does his daughter.
A wise man once told me: when he gives talk to the prisoner in jail, he doesn’t call them criminal. They are not to be tagged criminal because of a crime which they have done. They are responsible for that but shall not carry the name ‘criminal’ for the rest of their life. That statement is very true: everyone should be given a second chance.
The other character, Yu-Hang who is also contracted with AIDS from her boyfriend (who then passed away), spends most of her time helping other with AIDS. Since her boyfriend passed away, she doesn’t want to fall in love again because she knows it will not have fairy tales happiness. She keeps that as secret. In that series, Bu-Fan’s brother falls for her. However, being proposed for many times, she finally tells him the reason why she keeps rejecting him. He is stunned and does hesitate when he is told. Dramatically, the story ends up a happy ending as he never gives up on her.
Although I have not met anyone infected with AIDS in person, but I believe many people have incorrect perception of the AIDS disease and discriminate the patients. Every AIDS victim surely is depressed and dilemma when they know they are contracted. Some are blaming themselves, deeply regretted and begging for a second chance. If we can’t give them a second chance, how would they forgive themselves and go on with their life?
The drawing above was inspired by the drama when Bu-Fan sits on the rooftop of a flat feeling dilemma and yet does not have the courage to end his life. It’s named Give them your hand on the purpose of hoping everyone of us; we can give them our hand without discriminating them. At this very moment, our hands meant so much to them to support and give them courage.
On Dec 26, 2004, Aceh was struck by a disaster never seen before. Five years after the tsunami, the place and the people have bounced back.
JUARIYAH looks adoringly at her two young children who are playing in the grounds of her new home. Her front yard is small but it looks pretty with carpet grass, plants and flowers in red, white and purple.
Sitting on her favourite teak wood bench out on the veranda, she chuckles at the antics of her two boys Mohd Rafi Rezeki, four, and Mohd Fito Magestra, one. And she poses for photos with them.
She is a picture of happiness and it warms my heart to see her like this.