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HIV Life >> Living With HIV

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Reged: 05/12/04
Posts: 9
      #100596 - 06/30/04 08:41 PM

It's sad how often we only hear about rape cases when either a young child is involved or someone dies, racial and religious discrimination when it affects a member of the government and HIV & AIDS discrimination, only when it happens at the corporate level of a multi-billion dollar company. Some think it doesnít happen anymore, well it does, it happens every day, everywhere, at every socioeconomic level, and it needs to stop.

I applied to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters in February of this year. After applications, background checks, and an extensive interview, I received a letter of acceptance on March 9th. During my interview I was asked about my medical history. I disclosed my positive HIV status at this time. I was told this did not bar me from being part of their program, but that my status must be disclosed to the individuals involved. Numerous employees of BBBS had told me several times that the average placement time after application process was one week; two weeks at the most, 16 weeks later still no match. On one occasion my placement specialist called me, she noted that she was uncomfortable explaining my status to a parent. I tol her HIV was not transmitted through hugging, kissing, touching, etc. Her exact comment was, "Oh, I didn't know that." Itís 2004 not 1981 anymore, case managers working for a federally funded program, working within the social work field, should know about HIV & AIDS awareness. BBBS is known for working with non-mainstream issues. What makes this any different?

Discrimination, lack of education, and pure ignorance had denied me the opportunity to bring, ďa little magic into a childís life forever changing both by the experience.Ē Although a childís life was not involved, I have been forever changedÖ Some people say, ďJust let it go.Ē No! Itís not about me, itís about the rights of humanity, itís about being able to do what any other individual is permitted to. If Susan B. Anthony didnít stand up for womanís rights, women might still be denied the opportunity to vote. If Martin Luther King as well as other Civil Rights Activists didnít stand up for their rights, they might still be sitting on the back of the bus, or even worse, still be considered merely property rather than individuality. If Reagan didnít stand up for the rights of a small city within a wall, the wall would still separate families and loved ones. If I donít, if we donít stand up for our rights, right now, as individuals, fighting for equality among humanity, who will?

I took a stand, and I am jut a raindrop in the ocean. Big Brothers Big Sisters initiated an HIV & AIDS Awareness training program, mandatory to all employees at the state level. They took what could have been a major catastrophie and implemented something good. I hope and pray that my strength and courage can be an example to those of you who hide inside. HIV & AIDS needs a face, when you put a face to an insecurity, people relate it to those they know. When my friends think of HIV they see my face and they think of strength, courage, and determination. Not fear. Stand tall...

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Reged: 06/15/04
Posts: 395
Re: Discrimination new
      #100618 - 07/01/04 03:32 AM

thankyou for the lovely letter and all your hard work. I know that it is hard and unfortunate that in this day and age there are still many people that are afriad to even look at someone with HIV/aids and it is sad..You are right, more people+ or - should be educated better. We should as a unit fight for our rights to be the best, most helpful people we can be. Your letter was truly inspiring and I gained both knowledge and strength from reading it. Thankyou so very much for being the wonderful person you are, for being you......Jessie

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Re: Discrimination new
      #100623 - 07/01/04 10:02 AM

It is sad. Even in our "educated, civilized" country it occurs.
Often through workplace discrimination, I just read an article
in a respected HIV/AIDS magazine, that employers (even the Federal Government!) have discriminated illegally all across this country and have been/are being sued. In your case, a wonderful volunteer opportunity was delayed/denied because of "ignorant" discrimination. I praise you for taking action, that's what we need in order to promote change. I was lucky, most people I know/met accepted my status. Only one woman said to a coworker of mine "be careful". EVERYONE else that I worked with over a period of 15 years were not only non-discriminatory, but pretty educated, if not, they asked me questions, I shared what I knew. And they were very supportive, even indicating in an emergency if blood was involved "they know where the gloves are", they wouldn't hesitate to come to my assistance. However, even my sister with a college degree couldn't understand how my fiance was allowed to cook at a restaurant as he had HIV! I educated her in a hurry, she know knows alot more about the virus. Yes, I was just telling my mom tonight that I have always been a promoter of equal rights, human rights, etc. , especially "proud" of MLK. I am even MORE sympathetic and supportive, which I didn't think was possible, because I see this disease cutting down every race, sex, age group, sexual orientation, etc. I met and unfortunately saw the most wonderful gay and heterosexual men die of AIDS at a hospice where my fiance resided. I became as human as humanly possible at that point. It is awesome when positive came come out with a negative. Thanks for sharing your story, and your wonderful attitude. We truly are each other's keeper and need to remember that. In 1992 before cocktails available.

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New User

Reged: 05/12/04
Posts: 9
Re: Discrimination new
      #100962 - 07/08/04 07:29 PM

BBBSU had their training yesterday, I attended it went well, typical HIV 101 training. I have a meeting with BBBSU today (07/08/04). I have a few concerns to address still, my main concern is their disclosure policy. They have to tell the parent of the child of my status. I don't hide from my status, but I don't exactly care to advertise it. Any suggestions as to how I might better handle this situation would be great.


Also, if anyone is interested, I can forward you a copy of my complaint to the ACLU & my letters to the newspaper. Lack of space and time has limited the details of this situation.

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