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.
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.