Summer Camp Series: HIV/AIDS and a Person Centered Approach
33.3 million people in the world live with HIV every day. The incurable disease occurs in every part of the world – also in the first world. Yet being HIV-infected is still a taboo that most people are ashamed to talk about. Being a HIV-patient is associated with being an irresponsible person who has caused the disease himself. He is exposed to a lot of prejudice: Maybe he was a drug addict and used a dirty needle? Or maybe he was infected because of his big amount of sexual partners? Or maybe even because he had sexual intercourse with another man?The disease exists everywhere. Yet it is clear that some people are more exposed to get the infection than others. Sex-workers and drug addicts are examples of people living a life in a high risk of HIV. However, that does not mean that these people are lesser human beings. HIV-patients have the right to be treated with respect and should be considered as worthy people. They are still human beings with thoughts, reason and feelings. The dignity of every human person is intrinsic and should not be reduced because of a disease.
Of course, HIV is undesirable, and scientists all over the world should keep on trying to find a cure. Through education and knowledge, we should keep trying to prevent infections. Nevertheless, it is not sure that we can
eliminate the disease. We have to recognize that people live with it every day. We must not forget that the patients are still human beings and that they should be treated like it as well. If we do not make sure to do this, the patients’ dignity will be violated. We have to make sure that everyone acknowledges the dignity of every human being no matter where they come/ from, what their skin color is or if they have a serious disease as HIV. That should be fundamental in every society.
By Ida Astrid Nilsson, a WYA member from Denmark and International Summer Camp Participant