Associated stigma and discrimination
Aside from the mortality risk associated with HIV/AIDS, individuals infected with HIV are faced with the challenges of discrimination, and their families also find themselves shrouded in these feelings of shame and isolation.
Since HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease, most people branded the disease with a strong moral stigma, often avoiding the infected individuals for fear of contamination and condemnation. This social conditioning makes most HIV infected individuals find themselves fighting not only physical ailments, but also the guilt growing from being infected in the first place.
This is dangerous because given the negative psychological connotations like isolation, hopelessness, and lack of support are the driving force of suicide.
Lack of open communication
Due to the heavy stigmatization and discrimination, lack of openness to communicate about HIV related issues is one of the worst outcomes.
Individuals and their families would go extra miles to hide the facts, resulting in underreported and untreated cases of HIV infection, depriving the infected individual of HIV treatment.
Therefore, it is important to encourage open communication about HIV and AIDS to ensure education and awareness about the disease.
Open environment and social responsibility
By creating an open environment, where empathy is put at the center, in which we can provide protection and support to people infected with HIV, myths and misconceptions can be clarified.
It can also teach society to respect their rights and look at individuals infected with HIV as holistic individuals, rather than defining them solely by their diagnosis.
World AIDS Day
Every year, the 1st of December is commemorated as World AIDS Day by the WHO, in efforts to provide an opportunity for people to garner their support and unite in the fight against HIV.
We all need to be able to identify and relate to the suffering associated with HIV.
This gesture will go a long way in not only providing a strong support system to the HIV infected individuals who are usually isolated, but also will help in education, and raise awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
It is also seeped deeply in Indonesian characteristics, the culture of tolerance and respect. All in all, we foster tolerance at all levels of society, it will strengthen harmonious relationships and cooperation, and prevent isolation for individuals infected by HIV/AIDS. (FNA)