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Learn How Language Has an Impact on the Lives of People Living with AIDS

From Being a Blessing -- 54 Ways You Can Help People Living with AIDS

Never refer to a person living with AIDS as a "victim" or as a person with a "terminal illness." No one wants to see himself or herself as a victim. A "victim" is someone who has lost control of his or her life, someone who is without power or hope. People living with AIDS have the power and ability to be much more than "victims."

"A person living with a terminal disease" also does not describe a person living with AIDS. People living with terminal diseases are doomed. They have death knocking at their door. They have no hope for a cure, no hope of being able to overcome the obstacles they face.

We use the phrase "people living with AIDS" because it emphasizes that they are alive and can continue to live. One of the conditions with which they live is AIDS.

As people of faith, our job is to help restore hope, to provide strength in the face of major challenges. We can't accomplish these things when we talk about "terminal illness." That doesn't mean we should lie or pretend that the illness is not severe. While hope needs to be grounded in each of our realities, each of us is entitled to hope.

Help others understand that language makes a difference. When they talk about victims and terminal illness, they're giving a very wrong and hurtful message.

Psalm 91:1-2,4-5,15-16

O you who dwell in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the Protection of Shaddai,
Say of Adonai, my refuge and stronghold, my God in whom I trust, that
God will save you. God will cover you with the Holy pinions; you will
find refuge under God's wings; God's fidelity is an encircling shield.
You need not fear the terror by night, nor the arrow by day,
the plague that stalks in the darkness, or the scourge that ravages at noon.
When they call on Me, I will answer.
I will be with them when they are in distress;
I will rescue them and make them honored;
I will let them live to a ripe old age, and show them My salvation.

This is an excerpt from Being A Blessing -- 54 Ways You Can Help People Living With AIDS. Published by Alef Design Group 800-845-0662

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This article was provided by Alef Design Group. It is a part of the publication Being a Blessing -- 54 Ways You Can Help People Living with AIDS.