Monday, April 1, 2013

Discrimination in one's family

I read awhile ago in a Facebook group created for PLHIVs, advocates and supporters about two young Filipino PLHIVs who have been ostracized/disowned/kicked out of their families. According to the post in that group, the two PLHIVs need temporary accommodations and food to sustain them.  They are both working and need a place to stay, something they can only do after office hours.  This isn't the first time I have come across such cases though.

Their situation makes me very sad and very angry at their families for doing such a thing.  It maybe due to ignorance of the manageable ailment, disgust, anger, denial or whatever.

It is very sad to learn when a young PLHIV, who has just learned of his status and is at a loss on how to deal with it, gets kicked out of his or her family, which should be the first one to support and understand him or her.

I don't mean to rub salt on those PLHIV's wounds, so to speak, but I am lucky that when I came out to my two siblings (we don't have parents anymore), they were devastated to learn of my status but they didn't have second thoughts giving their complete support and understanding.

This brings mean to the issue of coming out about one's status-to whom or when do we do it.  I believe that before a PLHIV, especially one who is newly-diagnosed, should come out to anyone, including his or her family, the PLHIV should be equipped with adequate knowledge of HIV and AIDS so that if questions arise from the person or persons the PLHIV comes out, he or she can give a sufficient answer.

Know the level of knowledge of the person or persons you plan to come out to. A PLHIV can do this without necessarily revealing his or her status but through general or generic questions.  From there, the PLHIV will determine if he or she can be trusted and he or she can be assured of that person's complete support, understanding and can be bound to secrecy.  I can say that the lesser a person knows about HIV and AIDS, the higher the likelihood or chance that person will discriminate a PLHIV.

A PLHIV should take time before coming out to anyone.  He or she should think it over several times before doing so.  Consider the pros and cons.  Be completely ready-emotionally and psychologically-in coming out.  It is not easy coming out to anyone about one's status.  I should know because I've been through it.

And lastly, Pray. Pray to Him for guidance, strength and help in what you will do.  Believe me, prayers can do wonders.

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