“I have a stressful and demanding career and yet it’s one I wouldn’t change for the world My HIV in no way hinders my ability to work hard or enjoy every moment of the day. I don’t view myself as being any different to any of my colleagues and have, thankfully, not encountered any prejudice or indifference from them or from my employers. If anything I am cared for, and given lots of time to attend my blood tests and checkups.
Perhaps I am one of the lucky ones. I recognise that my story is not repeated across the country and yet I believe that with a positive frame of mind, a determined effort to live a full and active life and a responsible attitude to medication and regular check ups, most of us living with HIV can have a ‘normal’, happy and fulfilling life. I have always felt that HIV is simply a tiny part of the person I am – it does not define me, nor will I allow it to determine my future.”
~ Michael, from the UK, www.nat.org.uk
Michael’s positive attitude seems to me like the right approach for people living with HIV/AIDS. I think one of the main factors that must contribute to his outlook is acceptance. He has accepted his health condition and is living the best life he can. His employers, coworkers, and the other people around him have also accepted Michael for who he is. Without acceptance, it would be difficult for Michael to move forward with his life.
Acceptance is the natural result of love, for love embraces everything and does not desert anything because of hatred or fear. It doesn’t try to change someone but helps them go their own way in the best way possible. Our true nature is love and acceptance flows naturally from us when we are being true to ourselves.
That’s why even when we feel threatened or frightened, as from a serious illness, it is vital that we accept and help ourselves and others. It may cost us something—a blow to the ego, an expression of courage, a monetary donation—but we’ll be remaining true to human nature. In acting upon human nature, we find pure joy—not from just loving and helping your family and friends, but by expanding our circle of love. We are all connected, and what affects one of us affects us all. If we want a happy, healthy, and peaceful world, we need to create it in ourselves and help others to do the same.
That’s why I agree with the World AIDS Campaign’s theme for this year’s World AIDS Day: “Universal Access and Human Rights.” Everyone person born on this planet has a right to life and to health. We as a society need to create the conditions for everyone to receive those rights. We must first accept everything about ourselves, individually and collectively, and then we will begin to effect change.