The denial of death is ever-present. People get sick but resist their own sense of frailty; people witness another’s death but deny their mortality; people age but fight against every visible and invisible reminder. Death is the enemy; sickness is a sign of weakness and failure. As a result, people are compelled to project death and dying onto someone else; those with HIV/AIDS have been prime targets. Whether people are caring and care-taking, cold and dismissive, or contemptuous and blaming, the projector escapes the disquieting experience of seeing their own death in the mirror while forfeiting its gifts—the way it can highlight the profundity of the moment, reorganize priorities, and bring people closer to their loved ones and spirit.
Being looked at as diseased or dying is a most awful projection sapping the energy out of those with HIV/AIDS, devaluing the life they are living, hypnotizing them to stop living before their time. However, because this particular projection is so prevalent and seems true it is hard for many to fight back, to defend their humanity, to remember that they are full of ‘living experiences’—feelings, conversations, touches, spiritual states, not to mention loving and being loved.
AIDS is a condition of weakened immunity, of intense vulnerability. While physiologically this poses great difficulty, psychologically it represents a kind of openness that many others compulsively avoid.
Yes! HIV is a deadly virus but we shouldn’t discriminate for those who live with the virus. We should of course be careful not to contact the virus but we should try to put ourselves in their shoes, view life a bit in their own world of life, understanding their pains, make them feel loved and accepted regardless. Awareness should be created to lecture more on the virus, adequate care and concern should be shown to people living with this virus. In this way the community can become more whole and healed.”