Not to be confused with xenophobia, but hey it’s just as extreme so you might as well.
Serophobia is a fear connected to the discrimination, outing and exposing as well as the indifferent treatment of a person with HIV or who is HIV positive.
Examples of serophobia are: talking about someone’s HIV status without their consent, not being friends or friendly to someone due to their status, segregating the positive individuals as a sexual preference and exposing their status without their consent. These are but a few examples and many others to follow suit.
Now a friend of mine who recently found out they (I will refer to them as both him and her or she and he to confine his identity as she/he is okay with me writing about this as long as I don’t create suspicion towards her/him) are HIV positive recently, were in a state which I could only describe as miserable.
His/her fears of never being loved or being treated like a normal person started to hinder his/her spirit so intensely I am surprised that his/her mind strayed away to suicide. He/She is so worried that they would never get a proper job, that they will not be able to travel to many countries they had saved up to visit. They dread the day she/he has to disclose her/his status to their family and to a future partner.
My heart broke. And what really depresses me is that I am 100% sure that their fears have so much right to be in existence, because in the society we live in today people are sure as hell going to treat her/him in every way she/he feared they would treat them.
Now I’m not going to babble on about how society is junk and all that instead we need solutions.
From the research I’ve done it’s seems as though serophobia is surprisingly higher amongst the gay community, I say surprisingly because this is the same community who is always screaming for acceptance, yet acceptance within the community is not as evident – forcing fellow gay men back into the closet with regards to their status. Then the second group with the more intolerable is amongst people of color (POC) and within the African continent, POC are experts at shutting out concepts of different and new.
So here’s how we fix it!
Don’t be ignorant, study and understand the virus and the affects it has on the people who live with it. Know that you are more likely to contract the disease at a hospital than you are going to get it from your housemate’s toothbrush being in the same toothbrush-holder in your bathroom.
Respect the identity of the person living with HIV. Your business is to care for that person and to treat them as human as the “H” in the virus’ name suggests they are. Your business is not to reveal their status. Your business is not to make them feel any more vulnerable than they do already.
A few facts about the virus I recently discovered really brought some hope to the whole epidemic.
Did you know that when a carrier of the virus continues their medication reasonably well they could become undetected – meaning they will still be carriers of the virus but will be undetected? There also is a new prevention medication called PrEP that if a carrier and a partner were to engage sexually without a condom the chances are about 90% lower for the uninfected partner to contract the virus. It is however advised that if a couple is sexually active that they stay protecting themselves by any means necessary. Also a vaccine is in the clearing that could prevent HIV according to researchers and scientist from all around the world.
All in all by the scale of medicinal advances, I am hopeful that a cure will be made possible in the world and I’m hopeful that with knowledge and information the stigma towards the affected would be alleviated and acceptance and care would soon be the norm towards and among the HIV positive community.