Photo from bioethics.net
Yesterday was World AIDS Day. It got started back on December 1st, 1988 with the vision of bringing awareness to the AIDS pandemic and to fight prejudice against people with AIDS. Over the years, they have tried to raise money to find a cure and also to improve HIV/AIDS education.
It is amazing to see how far we have come with not only the education of HIV/AIDS, but also perceptions about people who have the disease. Before, it was known as a disease for people who engaged in homosexual relations, but now we know that people can get it through other avenues.
It is estimated that there are close to 33.4 million people living with HIV around the world. The sad part of the statistics is that 2.1 million of the infected are children and millions of them end up dying. The pandemic is a global issue and a global problem.
As I was thinking about this, I came to the conclusion that I do not know anybody who has AIDS. For some reason, it saddened me. Am I that isolated that I do not know anyone who has been affected by AIDS/HIV? Or do I choose not to care by not actively seeking out after people who have AIDS/HIV?
Then, I couldn’t help but to think about some of the parallels when it comes to other issues that deal with our love for comfort and our apathetic tendencies in life.
When it comes to ethnic prejudices, I have noticed that one of the reasons for our lack of concern or understanding is because we do not know anyone from a “different” race. We are surrounded by people who are “similar” to us. We are truly creatures of comfort. We don’t like to feel awkward. But in reality, getting to know people from a different ethnicity requires a lot of awkwardness and uncomfortable moments.
Even with the issue of homelessness and poverty. We are more prejudiced when we do not know anyone in a situation that is different from us social-economically.
This principle is true when it deals with other issues – different political persuasions, different views about life, different views on religion, different sexual orientation, and etc.
It is amazing how our lack of relationships leads to apathy and ethnocentric views about life.
Therefore, yesterday I prayed, “Lord, please lead me to one person who has AIDS/HIV, so that I can be broken with the things that break Your heart and that I can love and show the same compassion that You have shown me.”