Saturday, 6 October 2007

Is AIDS stigma diminishing in Yerevan?

Just got a call from close relative who said that someone whom she knew died of AIDS in Yerevan… I might have known him too, although can’t remember for sure. Sad news. But what astonished me was the way she told me about it, without usual scare or hysteria of HIV/AIDS. She did it the way people usually announce tragic news. She, of course, added that this guy was known for his ‘irresponsible’ sexual behaviour. What also astonished me is the fact that everyone around knew that the guy died of AIDS-related complication.

Is this the indication that AIDS stigma is slowly fading away in our society? I wish I could believe it, but it may be just my relative, or just the fact that medical privacy is very relative in Armenia. I can’t help myself but ‘hear’ all those conversations within the crowd gathered for funeral, those comments about his ‘immoral behaviour’, you know, the usual stuff…

On the other hand, people did not turn their back to that family; friends, neighbours and relatives showed up for the ceremony to offer their support and condolences, which is encouraging. But you know, when someone dies we all are ready to ‘show’ our support. What is lacking at times is support to those who are alive…

2 comments:

shark said...

you obviously think people die from HIV or have HIV virus in their body are not so responsible, they have bad reputation, I think the matter of fact is just another way around, recently a discussion between friends on posirvesingles.com is focus just on your case. But we believe people with HIV are not just as you think, after all, it’s a kind of disease, and no one want to get one.

artmika said...

Dear Shark,

Your interpretation is complete misunderstanding of my intentions and points of view. By no means I imply or think that HIV-positive people are ‘irresponsible’; some – may be, but many – certainly not! What I presented here are prevalent views in our society which stigmatise HIV-positive people. And I wrote about this particular case to show that hopefully there may be some positive changes in attitude, at least among some in Yerevan, who started viewing HIV/AIDS as “a kind of disease”, as you rightly pointed out. I am sorry if I did not make my views clear enough in my post, I thought I did.