A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevant

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Peacemaker, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Who said anything about the show being racist... I was referring to the fans.
  2. VoyagerLuver

    VoyagerLuver Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 26, 2002
    OK. I think EVERYONE deserves care. You guys are taking me for a cruel, heartless
    human being. I am not that. I believe everyone needs to be treated equally in the best ways

    What I am saying is I have more sympathy for people who accidentally get AIDS. I also
    have a great deal of sympathy for people who protect themselves, and still get AIDS. I
    have sympathy for people in third world countries who do not have the education to
    protect themselves against AIDS.

    The people who I do NOT have sympathy for are those who go out having sex without
    using any form of protection, and know what the consequences are of having unprotected
    sex. While these people do deserve the best care and attention that is humanly possible, I
    do not see why they deserve sympathy.

    It is the same with these people are going out having sex and purposely trying to get
    AIDS. These people are insane. While they do deserve treatment, they do not deserve
    sympathy. It is their own fault.

    I have nothing against gay, BI, or straight people. It is their decision to live life as they
    chose. I just hope they use protection and get tested along with their partner BEFORE
    having sex.

    I feel sorry for everyone who gets sick. 99% of sick people I have sympathy for. The 1%
    who purposely do not protect themselves have no sympathy from me. They do, however,
    have my pity.

    And finally, for the person who said my spelling was bad, I realize that. That is why I
    usually check my spelling. In my first post, I had just finished a night of studying and I was
    about to go to bed.

    Edited to Add following:

    I would like to add that its not my responsibility to judge a person. I don't judge people. It
    is not my place to do so. If a person comes into the emergency room after being in a car
    accident, he deserves treatment. Everyone deserves treatment. If the man was drunk, and
    it was his fault, then he should be turned over to the police after he recovers in the
    hospital. Let the judicial system judge and punish them.
  3. VoyagerLuver

    VoyagerLuver Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 26, 2002
    I NEVER said anyone deserves to die. NO ONE deserves to die, with the possable exception to maybe Adolf Hitler and people like him.

    *Edited to add the following:

    I made a mistake, wombat61. I am sorry for that and I apologize. I accidentally put the
    word "care" in for "sympathy." As I have stated before, EVERYONE deserves care.
    Sympathy is another matter. I can care for someone, but I don't have to have sympathy
    for them. There is a difference, at least to me. I'm sorry I sounded like a cold hearted son
    of a b**** in my first post. I did not mean to come across that way.

    I never judge people, I just find it hard to have sympathy for someone responsible for their
    own problems. For those people, I can only offer help and pity.

    I hope everyone understands where I am coming from. I should have read my first post
    more carefully, and I apologize to anyone I have offended or angered.
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    VoyagerLuver, let me give you a piece of advice. If you plan on becoming a doctor, I strongly suggest you learn to "check your feelings in at the front door prior to entering the house." You’re certainly entitled to your opinion about someone else's lifestyle. However, when working with patients, you must be non-judgmental in offering your help. The minute a patient senses that you are disapproving of them, that’s it. The patient won’t trust you. And once that trust is lost, nothing you do or say will make a world of difference.

    I worked with abused children. Their parents and/or family members have physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or sexually abused these kids. Working to gain trust between these children and their parents is no easy job. I cannot afford to be anything less than objective and sympathetic in helping them.

    Good luck to you,

  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Wow, thank you very much for your Post peacemaker. I think you have clearly shown what an episode like "Stigma" is trying to point out with what's wrong with this world.
    God Bless you, my prayers are with you as you continue to stay strong! ;)
  6. VoyagerLuver

    VoyagerLuver Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 26, 2002
    Hey rikertroi, I have some questions:

    What do you mean by being objective towards these children? Objective in their treatment, or objective in your attitude towards them? I don't understand.

    I have a great deal of respect for you and your work. How do you remain objective though? I wouldn't be able to do that. I'd get too angry at the people who abused the children to stay cool on that job. :mad:

    I should probably mention I'm only 17, so feel free to cut me some slack ;) My viewpoints will most likely change before I get out of college and med school.
  7. Mullach

    Mullach Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 29, 2002
    Thank you, peacemaker , for the insight.

    I'm an atheist myself, though I was not raised to be one, and I am very familiar with Protestant Christianity. If I recall correctly, there is a popular story about Jesus coming to the door of a Christian, on several different occasions, each time in the guise of one 'undesirable' or another, each time being turned away.

    First, substitute the medical profession for the Christian. (Many medical professionals are 'well off' [as apposed to 'undesirable'] and usually consider themselves to be 'moralistic'.)

    Second, substitute opportunities to study, and attempt prevention, as well as disseminate awareness of, any disease for 'Jesus in disguise as an undesirable'.

    So, the story plays out: Because of their own shortsightedness, the medical profession ignored the opportunities presented them, until it was their own children showing up on their doorstep in need.

    Therefore, who, ultimately, is at fault for the large numbers of people who have AIDS today? (However they contracted the disease.)


    PS: Another appropriate remembrance, I think: "But for the grace of God go I."
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Both. I have to keep my own feelings in check. Abused children generally have a lot of anger, are detached, and have little or no self-esteem. They can (and do) lash out at anyone and everyone. When a child is yelling obscenities at me for trying to treat his/her black eye given to them by a parent, I can’t take his/her behavior personally.

    I don’t want to stray too far off topic, so let me give you this particular case. Both parents are HIV positive and had a baby. The child was removed from their care by Child Protective Services (CPS) shortly after his birth because both parents were using drugs again (both parents were clean and sober throughout the pregnancy). The baby was also failure to thrive and needed follow-up with his HIV status. The parents once again became clean and sober, and their son was returned to them 6 months later. I don’t think I need to spell out how they became infected with the HIV. And of course, I am certainly not approving of their drug-using behavior especially when that behavior had severe consequences on the health their child. However, I never let my own feelings get in the way of helping them getting help for themselves and their child. Several years later, the parents began using drugs again. CPS came real close removing their son again. I will never forget the look on the mother face when I went out to the home with the social worker to interview her. I didn’t hide my feelings of disapproval very well because she saw how disappointed I was in her. She broke down crying begging me to please not let CPS take her son away. Once again, I worked closely with parents getting the help they needed. The parents once again became clean and sober and have remained so to this day. The child will be 8 years old this year, and to this day remains HIV negative.

    I do apologize for coming down so hard on you. But I do hope see that there's much for you to learn on your rode on becoming a doctor. :)

    Yes it is. I do it everyday on the job. How? I don’t know. I just do.

    rikertroi :cool:
  9. Alpinemaps

    Alpinemaps Commodore Commodore

    Apr 11, 2001
    San Diego, California
    Wow. Thank you for posting this peacemaker. It was good to read.

    I don't consider myself a bigot. I really don't care about what someone does in their bedroom, or what color someone's skin is. I wouldn't think twice about treating someone that was HIV positive any differently than someone that was negative.

    But, you know, I think I'm the type of person that, if you told me that you were positive, I might ask you "how did you get it?"

    Well, why? Why does that matter? Why would I want to know? Isn't it enough to know that you have it? What possible reason would I have for needing to know why.

    The only rationalization I can make is that I'm trying to show compassion and interest in a person. That I'm interested in them. But, no more. There are other ways of doing that.

    Your post has made me think twice. It doesn't matter what sort of thing it is. If I truly don't judge people, then it shouldn't matter to me how they contracted the disease. And it doesn't.

    Thanks for opening my eyes.
  10. evay

    evay Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 20, 2002
    Deck 4, Section 7
    Re: A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevan

    So I have given this some more thought, and I think I may have an answer. What reached me about your post, peacemaker, was the question of where or from what I derive my self-worth.

    After some ruminating, I think I can say that I derive a great deal of my self-worth from my deeds: my actions, my accomplishments. What good have I done this day? How have I helped? What did I accomplish? I set high standards for myself. I set high standards for others. I expect others to have high standards for me. I become upset with myself when I fail to reach those standards.

    But what happens when I fail? What happens when I do something stupid, as so often happens? Well, I realize it, first off. I acknowledge that it was stupid. I regret it -- I repent of it. And I apologize, to whomever is necessary and sometimes to myself, try to take steps to prevent myself from repeating the mistake, and then I move on.

    So it only seems fair that this is the same treatment anyone else should expect of me. If someone does something irresponsible, acknowledges that it was reckless, is sincerely sorry, and tries to make sure it doesn't happen again, then I have no more room to complain or to judge. And once that's happened -- once the person accepts responsibility for his or her actions -- then I don't have a problem offering compassion and empathy.

    We love our families and (we hope) our friends unconditionally, or at least we should. So if someone I love errs against me, I can't hold it against the person forever. I have to forgive and move on. I can forgive if the other person apologizes.

    There are things I've done about which I'm still upset with myself, things for which I haven't forgiven myself, but as you pointed out, bitterness doesn't make for a happy life. So I just try to move on, period.

    And I guess that's how I could balance condemning behavior with compassion. It's still rife with judgmentalism, I'll be the first to admit, but I don't even like the idea in myself of heaping more anguish onto someone who is suffering. I do not want to be someone who adds to someone's grief or punishment.

    Allow me to add my thanks also, peacemaker, for bringing up this difficult topic and allowing us to take a hard look at ourselves. I really would not have done so without this thread.
  11. Peacemaker

    Peacemaker Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 10, 2000
    Time Vortex
    ^ You're welcome. That was one of my real intentions in starting this thread.

    I'd also like to add this: One good reason for treating people without regard for their actions is simply that you never know what good you might do, even if everybody else other than you is behaving differently.

    Let me tell you a story.

    Two days before I moved from Atlanta to North Carolina a few years ago, a young fella from my gym saw me at a restaurant. I was eating alone, and he was with a couple of his friends. As the three of them got up to leave, he told them to go ahead and he'd catch up. He came over to my table and asked if he could sit down. I said, "Sure," and he sat down and said that he'd heard that I was moving away and wanted to know if that was true. I said "Yes," and he said that he was very sorry to hear that. He started to cry and told me that I was the only person in town that always treated him the same way. Whenever I saw him at the gym, I always said "Hello," and, on occasion we'd run into each other socially, and I'd always talk to him, smile, and, as he said, "You've never talked about me behind my back."

    I knew that he was a trainer at my gym. I also knew he was a dancer at a club somewhere on the north end of town, and I'd heard he did escort work too. I never said anything bad about him, and I never participated in discussions about him. I had been in the presence of others that had said some very unkind things about him, but were nice to him to his face. I treated him the same way every time, unlike these others.

    He hugged me and told me that he just wanted to say "Thanks" for that. Then he left.

    Last year, I went back to Atlanta. One Sunday afternoon, I went to a friend's place, where a bunch of us were getting ready to go to dinner. When I got there, they kept saying that somebody named Jason was coming over, and that he'd called and said to wait bec. he was running late from work.

    When the door opened, there he was. He looked totally different. I hardly recognized him. Immediately, he saw me and literally ran across the room to hug me. He told me how happy he was to see me after all that time. At dinner, he told me at length what had been going on.

    When I left Atlanta, he had just tested positive. He didn't have anybody to tell, and he never told me, but he had been watching me, bec. he knew I was positive, bec. I'm very open about my HIV status. Shortly after I left Atlanta, he left too, and went home to sort himself out. He decided to find a job and start over. He moved back to Atlanta. Now he has a good job and his own place and he's putting his life back together. He's no longer working his "second" jobs, tho., apparently, there's been a flap recently abt. some pictures he once did being posted in ads for this club where he used to dance. Anyway, he told me that he did all of that because he remembered that I used to tell him that, if he put his mind to it, he could overcome anything he really wanted to, and that, because I had been so nonjudgmental and just plain nice to him, he believed it. Now look at him. I'm very proud of him for that. Not only does that make me feel good about myself, it makes me feel good abt. the way I treat others, and is proof to me that I'm right in doing that.

    Moral of the story: Always do good to others. Even if you have to bite your tongue. It does not matter what they've done or where they've been. What matters is that you don't know their story, so, assume that they have their own hell and don't add to it. Try to leave every person better off than when you've found them, and try to learn something from everyone. You never know...you may be the reason that somebody gets it right one day. You're not responsible for them that way, but, you never know what good might come from just a single kind act.
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    ^^^^^When someone asked me “how can you keep your sanity working at CPS?!” this is pretty much my response. I recently ran into a former client. I didn’t even recognize her at first. She looks great. She said that she is now a Born Again Christian and has been clean and sober for over 2 years. She's going back to school to get her High School Diploma and works as a youth counselor at one of the probation foster youth group homes. She thanked me for being nice to her in spite of her "teen-straight-out-of-Hell" behavior when she was a dependent of the court. It's stories like this which make my job worth it all. These battered, abused, and neglected children are our future. Treating them with kindness, dignity, and respect is the least I can do.

    rikertroi :cool:
  13. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevan

    My heart goes out to you, and to all those infected with this terrible disease. Millions in Africa are dying, along with hundreds of thousands elsewhere in the world. It's a tragic thing to behold.
    Peace be with you my friend. I will pray for you.
  14. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I echo evay^^^. Thank you peacemaker. And best wishes to you.
    And also....

    I've been off thread for a while. VoyagerLuver, our thoughts on this may be somewhat more alike than it first seemed. But from your original message I certainly took your meaning to be advocating "triage according to fault". I am glad that this was either "mis-implying" on your part or "mis-inferring" on ours (most of the posters). I don't think we mis-interpreted your exact text, but I appear to have misunderstood your meaning.
    I too, do not "feel sympathy" for everyone I might try to "have compassion" for. But I do think that compassion is exactly what we all ought to give, for ethical and self-interest reasons, as well as morality.
    But you WILL have a rougher row to hoe than I, as you've chosen a field where you have to work so intimately with people, and in a sense, dispense "dispassionate compassion", treating everyone under your care equally, no matter how they got to you. Good luck to you.
  15. evay

    evay Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 20, 2002
    Deck 4, Section 7
    Re: A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevan

    I agree 100%, peacemaker. I have also found that kindness comes back to you when you least expect it. I'm very glad for your friend who's turned his life around.
  16. voodoowoman

    voodoowoman Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 11, 2003
    Re: A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevan

    Let me see now, my mother suffers from seizures and my father died of kidney disease brought on by alcoholism and diabetes. They are stigmatized too but I never once heard either of them whine about it. Kidney disease is always fatal yet where are the special ribbons worn by starlets and actors to support these people? There are many orphan diseases that recceive little attention or research funding. That is what the show should have been about. Aids is not an orphan disease. We already know as lay people all we need to know. Keep your zipper zipped, stay away from the drugs and practise monogamy.
    I realise Aids is a worldwide plague, So was smallpoz, diptheria, cholera, polio. I do not recall victims of these diseases banding together to persuade entertainers to make heroes of them because they contracted a disease. If they were heroic it is because they showed courage in spite of their suffering. The ridiculous reasoning behind this farcical plot stinks to high heaven of shilling to a politically powerful lobby in the entertainment industry, Gays. Aids is tragic and sad. So is cancer.
    I am sick of these hypocrytical preachers.
  17. Peacemaker

    Peacemaker Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 10, 2000
    Time Vortex
    Re: A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevan

    Alcoholism: Ever hear of the Betty Ford Clinic and all the celebrities? How many AA and AlAnon chapters are there in every town in America? By comparison, how many counties in a state are served by a SINGLE AIDS Service organization even if there is only one (in NC, I know that the ASO in my area serves FIFTEEN counties)?

    Diabetes and Kidney Disease: Carroll O'Conner, Mary Tyler Moore and others.

    Cancer: The Pink Ribbon. The entire Oh! Network and Lifetime Network for Women support breast cancer awareness. There is an American Lung Association. There are numerous celebrities who have had or have cancer and are open about it.

    Other diseases...Would you mind comparing the incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS with these other diseases. Put them all on a graph. Both incidence and prevalence for all these other diseases goes in a relatively straight line through the years.

    Add HIV/AIDS. The incidence and prevalence continues to climb by comparison, with, only in recent years, a reduction in the degree of inclination.

    We know more about heart disease than any other illness. We still know more about cancer than any HIV. Some cancers are even curable. We know what causes diabetes and how to control it. Maybe you've forgotten that we didn't find out that HIV causes AIDS until the mid80's. Maybe you've forgotten that truly usable HIV drugs did not emerge until the early to mid90's. Maybe you've forgotten that those drugs are still inaccessible to lots of persons in this nation, not to mention others, because they can't afford them, whereas any person that needs a kidney dialysis machine gets one and that a kidney transplant can cure it. Maybe you've also forgotten that BECAUSE of research into HIV we've gained immense knowledge of the human immune system and genetics that we very likely would not have had, and that knowledge has been used to make gains in treating cancers and other diseases. How many people with epilepsy are marginalized by society the way that people with HIV continue to be marginalized? Your Dad can get a kidney machine with no problem, but a person with HIV in this nation that has no health insurance can't get HIV drugs and, if the state in which s/he lives has a drug assistance program, that person may be lucky to get on a waiting list, because ADAP programs are being defunded by the states even as we speak. Even if s/he has insurance, they can still not have those drugs paid for bec. the coverage is inadequate or because they've exceeded their lifetime cap. How many people shun your Mom and Dad because they think they can get epilepsy or kidney disease by breathing the same air, through a mosquito bite, via a swimming pool, or eating or drinking after them? Look in the health education literature, there are STILL people in this nation, even in health care and emergency services and police depts, that know how you really get HIV, yet who still think you can get HIV via casual contact. (This actually happened to me at my last job. An employee complained about having to eat in the same breakroom as me, because she saw me wash a dish I had eaten from in the sink. She wrote a note to my boss, which I saw. It said that she was reporting me for doing that because, "What if he had bleeding gums and then I wanted to wash my dishes too. I could HIV that way" The real kicker was when she finished with "I know how you get HIV, I was once a volunteer at a hospital." Of course, when I saw the note, I called her butt into my office and told her that my 3 years at the CDC National HIV/AIDS Hotline trumped her volunteer training at the local hospital and that she was abt. to get a real education).

    I'm so sick of people that complain about HIV but don't have a clue about these other diseases. Don't preach to me about these other diseases when you don't know the facts yourself.
  18. renecharbonneau1

    renecharbonneau1 Captain Captain

    Sep 25, 2002
    Re: A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevan

    AIDS is preventable, end of story.
  19. Peacemaker

    Peacemaker Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 10, 2000
    Time Vortex
    Re: A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevan

    So is bigotry. Stigma wasn't abt. HIV/AIDS the disease. It was about the bigotry that has surrounded it and continues to surround it. The heart of the story was T'Pol's refusal to tell the doctors how she got the disease because she knew that they would twist that knowledge to fuel the mariginalization of a portion of their society. Did you miss that part?
  20. Borgminister

    Borgminister Admiral Moderator

    May 30, 2001
    Re: A person with HIV tells why Stigma was relevan

    Not entirely--AIDS patients who contracted the disease through blood transfusions will tell you that.