1 Dec 2006

World AIDS Day & Free Hugs

Around forty million people are living with HIV throughout the world - and that number increases in every region every day. ... World AIDS Day, 1 December is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This year, it's up to you, me and us to stop the spread of HIV and end prejudice.
World AIDS Day.

AIDS is not scary; AIDS is not dangerous. AIDS only becomes scary and dangerous when we are not aware of it. It is a disease that can be prevented, and I firmly believe that there will be an excellent cure for this disease someday.

In fact, I think AIDS gives us a good chance to reconsider our current human relationships. We seem to detach ourselves more from normal human interactions due to the proliferation of Internet. We stop talking to our neighbours or stop smiling at a beautiful baby. We have become so cold and distant. It is this cold and distant attitude that stops us from caring for other people. When we are not able to care for other people, how we could really fight against AIDS.

People with HIV are not dangerous, and they need our attention. This disease has long been mystified, and all we know is the negative parts of it. Who said AIDS is reserved for homosexuals only? Who said you will become HIV+ just because you have any contacts with another HIV+? Who said AIDS is a sin? No one ever gives any definite answers to these questions. All we know today is plainly rumors we heard somewhere.

I don't agree with the idea that AIDS is a sin. I agree many gay men were diagnosed as HIV+ in the eighties, but recent cases show that people with HIV are mostly from unsafe straight sex, inappropriate blood transfer, and the delivery of babies. I agree that AIDS is highly contagious, but it only happens when you know nothing about it. Every individual is responsible for his/her behaviours. Only when we have proper knowledge of AIDS and are responsible for our actions could we prevent it from spreading.

Educating the public about AIDS is what we need to do today. We should stop taking AIDS as a taboo, an unspeakable subject, a sin. We need to encourage people to learn about this disease, to communicate, and to open their hearts. Imagine how a person with HIV would feel. We can actually offer our aides to help him/her to recover in whatever ways. Instead of feeling sad and unsafe, with our help, he/she could build up a positive attitude towards this disease. Through our help to them, we learn more about AIDS, and we truly contribute to better humanity.

On 11/26, there is an action named "FREEHUGS FOR HIV/AIDS" in Taipei. The goal is to encourage 100 people to hug Mr. Chang (張亞輝), a HIV+ writer and the organizer of this campaign. To the end, he actually hugged more than 150 people that day. Living in this modernised society, we used to oppress our feelings because showing true feelings would be a weak action. Of course, we become so cold and distant so as to survive in this society. However, according to the reports of this campaign, some people said that hugging Mr. Chang, or even just showing support by smiling at him, had already made their day, and they would never forget this experience. Through this campaign, he helped introduce the notion that people with AIDS are just normal patients, and the hugging and warm responses show that humanity still exists. Showing humanity in fact brings more happiness than all other achieved success.

This campaign reminds me the freehugscampaign proposed by Juan Mann in Sydney. He said that this is the age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact. I totally agree with this, and I think it is more important to remind the public to seek again good human contact we used to have but lost now. If we can encourage people to reconstruct smooth and positive human interactions, the idea of uniting people to fight against HIV could easily be realised. We would start trusting people again, and we would care for people again. Along with good education programmes on AIDS, we definitely would end our prejudice against AIDS.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Min-Chih,

    Thanks for this article and information concerning the Hug event...very interesting indeed!!
    I would like to know if you have some information and document (in english or chinese) about the World AIDS Day in Taiwan in 2007?
    Thank you for your help.

    I use this opportunity to inite you to my blog and notably to a global survey on global health...don't hesitate to promote it on your blog or among your friends..thanks.