The unlawful/inappropriate practices that come with Living w/ HIV/AIDS in the Philippines. Some would be:
- 5 newly hired employees were required to take the HIV test. PLHIV1 opted not to take the test, and ultimately, not to pursue the employment opportunity in the said company.
- PLHIV2 was given his HIV test results via SMS. No post test counseling was done.
- The reactive result was handed to PLHIV3 in a mall clinic somewhere up north. He went out of the clinic not knowing what to do, where to go or how to proceed.
- At least 6 employees of a call center in Alabang has reported to a doctor in Cavite that mandatory testing was done ON FLOOR while they were taking calls.
- PLHIV4 reported that a clinic announced his Viral Load test aloud. Later on, the male nurse asked him if he was HIV positive.
- A major government treatment hub lost the records of PLHIV5. As a result, he did not seek treatment until 3 years after.
What’s the common denominator of all these scenarios?
No one formally reported his experience to the authorities.
We all say we want a Stigma free society — a community that does not discriminate against PLHIVs and their family members. But how do we put a stop to all these when we’re hiding in the dark with every improper/wrong/unlawful experience we have,
Why do people hide?
Stigma is what drives people underground. PLHIVs are afraid to be exposed out in the open and we are in fear of being identified when a complaint is escalated confidentially.
So it’s the lesser of two evils? We swallow the BS since we don’t want to get exposed? Or we say something and end up being exposed– possibly that is.
Does it have to be a choice? Admittedly to most PLHIVs, it is.
A big choice.
I understand that while we always say reporting these cases will have its full confidentiality, we simply don’t trust the system will cover us when and if needed.
I also understand that while we opt not to say anything, the constant mistreatment of PLHIVs will recur over and over and over again.
So you felt discriminated? But you didn’t want to talk about it. Don’t expect equality.
So you felt discriminated and you rant about it? But you didn’t want to talk about it with the authorities. Don’t expect justice.
So you felt discriminated and you would rather not report it? Expect others to experience what you did.
Nelson Mandela said:
So no one can force us to come out or risk being exposed. But please don’t expect the Right. The Fair.
Allow me to share this last quote from Brande Roderick: