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Infected! Oh, My!

By Rev. Andrena Ingram

April 5, 2014

I'm not 'infected' with HIV ... I'm 'living' with HIV!

How many of you remember being told that you had tested positive for the antibodies which cause HIV? I remember it like it was yesterday! The results were shocking, nothing would EVER be the same! I was filled with dread, I was filled with shame, and I was filled with fear. Took me a few years to get comfortable in my skin.

And so, as most of us activists/advocates take deeper looks at words, I found a word which is offensive to me, particularly in the HIV platform -- but could very well fit any situation.

The word "infected" bothers me.

Dictionary.com gives these few definitions of the verb 'infected':

These are not words most of us would like to be associated with, whatever our medical condition.

I believe that one of the first steps to living a more positive life, begins in how we think about ourselves. We cannot be healthy or begin on a holistic journey, if we think of ourselves as contaminated or tainted or corrupted.

By the same token, if society puts that label on us, it is no wonder they would feel they need to distance themselves from us or place us in boxes which stigmatize us.

The truth of the matter is: I am not tainted. I am not corrupted. Nor am I contaminated.

That being said: neither are you.

"As you think, so shall you become" -- Bruce Lee

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