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World Aids Day: 1 December 2016 

The way some people treat me has made me more determined to talk about being HIV positive, writes a Baptist minister. We all have a role in showing kindness and compassion to those living with HIV, in this country and others 


Hayley Young700My name is Hayley and I am HIV Positive!

Yeah, for some people that is a big deal, for others it’s really not. My hope and prayer is one day everyone will react to me no differently because of it, but the reality is today they do.

People look,

People stare,

People comment,

People looked worried when I touch someone!

I contracted HIV in 2013 and was forced by people I once trusted to make it public. I told the community in which I work and live in May 2015.

On telling people, most were amazing and supportive; they wanted to know how they could help. Others, I honestly thought I had travelled back to the 1980s.

The stigma that some have placed on me, the prejudices they have displayed against me and the way some people treat me has made me more determined to talk about being HIV positive.

The National Aids Trust states that: ‘Two in five people think that their boss should tell them if a colleague is living with HIV.’

They also note that: ‘Only three in five people living with HIV feel supported by their GP practice.’

PosterHIVStigmaWrongHaving HIV is not the end of the world; although it’s not the best thing in the world either! Due to advancements of medicine, if HIV is picked up early enough it will have almost no impact on your daily life. You can carry on as normal, that’s why it is so important to get yourself checked.

As someone living with HIV, I take a cocktail of anti-­viral drugs every day that helps suppress the virus in my body. Due to other infections and the right combination of drugs not being used straight away, the path for me was a bit complicated. But the treatment means that I still have a future.

That future is just the same as it always would have been; and it is up to us, as good human beings and Christians to make sure of that: that the future is not filled with the prejudice and the stigma.

That’s why World Aid’s Day is so important, to raise awareness that it’s ok to be HIV positive and also to shine a light on the injustice of this world.

I can have a future because I live in the West and that means I have access to treatment; others are not so fortunate because they live in a different part of the world, therefore they die needlessly of a treatable virus.

So, as it’s World Aid’s Day on the 1 December and you have a choice: a choice to sit back and let the world go by or a chance to act differently, to show kindness and compassion to those living with HIV, in this country and others.

I’m Hayley,

I live with HIV,

I’m still me, just a bit more positive!

 

A prayer


Trinity God, we come to you in the knowledge that you are to us a Good Father, a Risen Saviour and an Empowering Holy Spirit.

At this time, we would like to lift to you those living with HIV and Aids in this country and others; those who are close to us and those who are far.

We pray that all people living with HIV and Aids will know you as Almighty God who is full of compassion and the only source of true comfort.
We pray that individuals living with this condition will experience good health and protection for other diseases.

We pray that the surrounding communities of people living with HIV and Aids will be supportive and show compassion and not rejection.
We lift to you those who care, nurse and support people living with HIV and Aids.
We pray that all people in the health care system will have compassion for those who they are caring for.

We ask that those in the medical sector experience a wisdom in dealing with individuals and for those who are working abroad with HIV and Aids that they will not be overwhelmed by the task ahead.

Lord God, we recognise that there is an injustice in how people receive treatment depending on local authority and country.
We pray for those who make the anti-­virals and the medication needed that life would be their priority, and not profit.

We lift those to you who have lost friends, family members and loved ones to the disease: God of compassion, will you be their comfort in their loss.

We lift to you at this time those orphans who are grieving the loss of one or both parents: may they know the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
We ask that they will experience compassion from the extended family as well as the local community.
Lord, would you in your compassion make a place for them that is safe and secure?

We also pray today for Church leaders, community leaders, MPs and people in positions of power that they, we, would be good role models in working against stigma and prejudices.

Lord God, help this day to stay positive and to see Your Glory in all our lives.
In Jesus Christ’s name, Amen. 



 

The Revd Hayley Young is the minister of Hayling Island Baptist Church, Hampshire


 
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