Rumours of A.I.D.S.

Living in a society as small as Barbados, one always runs the risk of being the target of rumours
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Today a friend of mine told me something that made me cry. Bear with me as I give you a summary about who I am and why I cried.

I am a young educated woman with hopes, dreams and plans for the future. I have made many bad decisions and I haven’t always been good to myself. Sometimes my behaviour has been downright self-destructive. I have had some failed relationships; a few of them were bigger than others. I’ve often attracted people into my life that have hurt and used me, and who I’ve allowed to do so… and I’ve survived.

When I was a teenager I lived in the here and now. I heard all the warnings and chose to obey some of them. I’ve had many triumphs–and many disappointments. Growing up for me was a long arduous process, but I’ve done it and in the end I like who I am because of it. The bad choices that I made taught me many hard lessons that I would not trade for the world. You see, I’ve realised that for every bad choice I’ve made, for every wrong turn I’ve taken; there is much more good in my life than bad. I’ve maintained friendships that mean a lot to me, and I have seen my friends blossom from schoolgirls into lovely young women. I have had the same best friends (two) for the past decade, and we’ve laughed with each other, shouted at each other, cried for each other and fought battles together. I love them all.

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Let me tell you now why I cried. My best friend told me today that someone told her that I have AIDS. Apparently, the observation was made that I haven’t been going to fetes because I am sick and don’t want people to know. It seems that I was seen at the Q.E.H. talking to ann AIDS counsellor… that seems logical doesn’t it? I no longer go to fetes and I was talking to an AIDS counsellor–NATURALLY, that must be it! “She has AIDS.”

I believe in calling a spade a spade so here’s the truth–take from it what you will. I did in fact go to see a counsellor, and I did in fact have an AIDS test. I am pleased to say that my results were negative. I do rarely go out now, but this is because I have found a partner who has really taught me how to love, and as such I no longer feel the need to go searching for love and acceptance. I do not go out because for many years I would be in a crowd full of people and I’d still feel alone. I’m happy now exactly where 1 am, thank you very much.

I don’t want you to think that I cried because someone said that I have a terminal illness. l am not now, nor will I ever be immune to AIDS. If I ever do contract the disease I will have to take it in stride and trust that my Creator will lead me home. I would never isolate myself from others, because God will always love and be there for me no matter what people will say. In the end, that’s all that matters.

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I cried because I find it so sad that in this day and age people are still so consumed with the need to drag others down. There are those who are not happy unless they are causing others pain. Although it does hurt that there is someone out there that hates me enough to say something like that; I realise that their words have no real meaning. I know who I am, and those who really know me love me fiercely.

Furthermore, I find it ludicrous that my death warrant has been signed simply because someone saw me coming from having, what they rightly assumed was an AIDS test. I think that the biggest contributing factor to the spread of AIDS is ignorance about the disease. Rather than being p~praised for being a pro- active young adult who has elected to find out what is going on with my body, the ignorance , of the person who saw me has already sealed the stamp on my death certificate.

AlDS is not a joke. This is a killer that is systematically wiping out millions of our brothers and sisters worldwide. AIDS is not a disease that selects you based on your lifestyle. There are measures ~at you can take to prevent i, but few of us can be completely sure that this ominous visitor will never knock at our door. Rumours are much like this disease in that they can become akin to an epidemic. What starts with one person can spread like wildfire to many others, and lives can be destroyed in its wake. Like AIDS, I do not take rumours lightly.

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Living in a society as small as Barbados, one always runs the risk of being the target of rumours. Deviations from the norm are unacceptable and there are always those who will find a million different ways to bring others down. I used to love to hear a juicy piece of gossip… that was always the best kind. Times change though, and I had hoped that those in my age group had done so too. I see that I was wrong. No matter how old we get, there will be those whose thoughts are so insular and destructive, that the only way that they can feel good about themselves is to spread propaganda in their attempts to bring others down.

I just want to end by saying to that mystery person who claims to know the status of my health so intimately: You will never get what you want. My life will continue in much the same way that it does right now. If anything you only make me stronger. I will maintain my friendships, continue my studies, and live my life in the exact way 1ltat I did before. Words will not destroy me. To all of those who are distraught about one lie or another that has been told about you, I wish to say the following, and I hope that you will trust me that it is true: “This too shall pass.” God Bless.

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