SEASONS CHANGE, DISCRIMINATION REMAINS
Autumn is with us again and although unseasonably warm, there is no mistaking winter is almost here, as the leaves turn to beautiful russets and reds and the early morning mists have an ethereal quality. The clocks have gone back an hour and suddenly darkness falls mid-afternoon. In a way, this mirrors my own experience over the years when it first became apparent to me in the days before HIV medication, that many deaths occurred when the summer had ended as people gave up their fight for life as winter approached. When hundreds of lives were lost and the funerals so numerous I lost count.
Over the last few years my experience of losing people in Autumn seems to be related to Cancer and nowadays those of us with HIV find ourselves more prone to this condition making us more aware of the many forms and guises it presents.
We lost our beautiful Border Collie, Shanks, 3 weeks ago. We became the ‘proud parents’ of this gorgeous puppy only 2 months into our marriage, he was always a joy.
We watched him grow old and in his final days grow ill. He went peacefully in our arms and an era ended as in the last few years I lost both my parents and two of my best friends; our old cat died; two years later we lost our precious dog Lola to old age; then only Shanks remained, other than Lola who died mid winter, all of them went in the Autumn. A melancholic season.
Now World AIDS Day is upon us again and I am so pleased to know that, finally, there is to be a London AIDS Memorial to all those who lost their lives. To know that they are going to be honoured fills me with gratitude. So many of them died with so much left to give to the world; so many of them partook of medical trials thereby giving many of us the means to stay alive. As I write this, Poppies are being worn honouring those who died in wars to preserve our ‘freedom’. It would be great to see as many Red Ribbons worn in honour of our own ‘fallen heroes’.
Reflecting on the current state of HIV around the world I find myself feeling strangely disquieted. On an almost daily basis I sign and pass on petitions pertaining to the appalling treatment of the LGBT community in certain parts of the world. The terrible ‘anti-gay’ laws, the persecution, hounding and hideous murders so often in the name of religion and all because of perceived differences in sexualities. Many of these homophobic countries receive financial aid in order to provide PLWHA (People living with HIV & AIDS) medication and support. I never thought I would find myself agreeing with David Cameron as he suggested denying financial aid to homophobic countries at the last Commonwealth Conference but on this I most certainly do!
A lot of people accessing HIV services in the UK come from these same homophobic societies. Do they have any conscience when accepting this help? Do they have any idea that without the tireless campaigning of the LGBT community there might be no services available to PLWHA? I wonder if the celebrities who campaign for PLWHA in these homophobic countries are aware of the persecution of LGBT’s?
Personally I would like to see these homophobic countries adopting the same anti-discriminatory laws of the countries who supply them with financial aid. If they do not agree with these civil liberties they should not accept the help provided. So many of the brave, heroic people who first initiated the global aid policies have died.
Let’s honour them!
I look forward to writing my next column as Spring approaches with a big smile on my face, as I watch the leaves returning and the birds chirping whilst celebrating an extra hour of daylight, as I walk through the countryside with my hubby and our two young Jack Russell Terriers’ Finbar and Ruby Belle.
Full of spring optimism and anticipation for the approaching summer months.
I wish you all a wonderful Festive Season!
© Caroline Guinness-McGann
© Copyright 2011 Positive Nation, Talent Media.
Designd & powerd by ENTWURF.