December 1st is my daughter’s birthday. She will be turning 12 on this day. Papa is out of station which leaves with only my boy, girl and me at home. Unlike in the past like cutting the cake, blowing off the candles and lighting the butter lamps we decided to celebrate in different ways. We were exploring how we will go about celebrating her birthday when suddenly the BBS announced that few groups of people with HIV AIDS from Lhak-Sam will be coming live on BBS on 1st December marking the World AIDS Day.
Well, we found how to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. We decided to stay glued to the TV and wait for this group to come on live. We decided to listen to them, hear what they have got to say, how they have fought with not only the disease but also with the discrimination by the society. I thought to myself what better way to mark my girl’s birthday.
This is the time to teach her about responsibility, compassion to ones with HIV-AIDS and how we can go about contributing in our own little ways to help them fight the disease with love, care and compassion. She can also learn how as an individual she can prevent zero HIV infection.
Bhutan is a small country with closely knit society. Discrimination is least expected in a supposedly compassionate society like ours but it’s happening whether we like it or not. This year the World AIDS Day theme is “Getting to Zero” which means zero new HIV infection, zero AIDS related death and most importantly zero discrimination.
What we need to understand in a small society like ours is that HIV-AIDS is like any other diseases. It does not happen just by the mere carelessness of the individuals involved in sexual activities. Look at the innocent children born with it. Look at those blameless individual who must have got the disease through some infected blades in the barbers shop, or through wrong injections.
What we don’t understand is that more than the pain of having the disease, it is the pain of the discrimination that is killing them slowly. It is the attitude of the people against those infected with HIV-AIDS that is not acceptable. On this day it is only right to think responsibly, positively and share the responsibility of providing the much needed care, support and compassion to all those carrying the killer disease with them.
On this day, I would like to salute the volunteers who decided to come forward and brave the world. Their action will go a long way in helping people understand the pains and turbulences that the people with HIV-AIDS go through on a daily basis. It is now the responsibility of every one of us to join them in solidarity to combat the disease as well as the discrimination jointly.
Lets us remember that zero new HIV infection is the responsibility of every individual and zero discrimination is the responsibility of the society.