Introduction It is well-known that the history of any given person or group is going to greatly impact their feelings and views towards any given major topic. Who we are and the way we think is our upbringing as well as through own experiences of our own. These experiences are what cause one to develop stigmas. And unfortunately stigmas seem to be long lasting regardless of whether or not they are actually true or not, simply because so many seemingly choose to be resistant to new Information and arena willing to consider new discharge their feelings about a given topic.
The HIVE- infected community is no stranger to this experience, and many who have no correlation to the stigmas applied to HIVE and AIDS are forced to live with the constant assumption by the public they fit into one of the stigmatize categories of HIVE. Certain groups of HIVE-infected individuals are faced with more of a challenge in the acceptance by their non HIVE-linefeed community members because of the stigmas that are applied to the disease. One of the major groups that have been affected by their historical beliefs directly affecting their view on WIDTHS is organized religion, specifically Christianity.
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The long-standing beliefs of Christianity on homosexuality and promiscuity, along with the inaccurate depictions of WIDTHS have led to a lasting sense of distrust within the community, particularly for those who are HIVE- Infected. Beliefs of Christianity on Homosexuality and promiscuity The beliefs within Christianity on homosexuality and promiscuity stem far and deep into the history of the religion. And while there are many different interpretations of what the original words written In the Bible, the Holy Book of the Christian faith. Mean exactly, there are general consensus about several topics including those of emotionality and promiscuity. Leviticus 19:22 states, “[d]o not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It Is a detestable sin”. This is clearly an example of the Bible directly stating that homosexuality is not to be accepted, and is therefore generally looked down upon within the church and in many instances if a member Is thought to be homosexual, as It Is considered a very serious sin, will often be treated as an outcast or will no longer be welcome within the community.
In Hebrew 13:4, “[l]et marriage be honorable among all, and the arraign bed be without defilement, for God will Judge fornicators and adulterers,” Is interpreted by most to forbid any type of sexual promiscuity, which within Christianity is participating in sexual acts with one other than one’s husband or wife. By many Christian’s this is also looked down upon and members who are thought to be sexually promiscuous are not warmly welcomed and are viewed in a very negative light as being “bad Christians”.
As in most religions, one’s community within their church typically serves as a family and a major support system when going through radar times. It is taught in Christianity to treat your brothers and sisters in Christ as if they were your flesh and blood, however often in Christianity as in other organized religion when a member Is deemed to have committed a major grievance against God they are to be punished often by no longer being accepted. This throughout history and still today causes many members to feel as if they must keep anything secret Christians” to themselves, in fear of being Judged and shunned by other members.
For example, as discussed in the article Sex, disease and stigma in South Africa: satirical perspectives, (Deli’s & Glasses, 2005), many Christian families in Africa, while often not as traditional as some other sects of Christianity, still try very hard to cover up indiscretions such as premarital pregnancy however were forced to come clean and face the often merciless punishments. “Adulterous and unmarried pregnant women were disgraced, even excommunicated by churches… ,” (as cited in, Deli’s & Glasses, 2005, p. 3).
This often happens even if the allegation is not actually true, but instead is simply due to some type of stigma. The added complication in the odder world is the interpretation one chose to take and to what extent they are going to follow these old types of customs. Stigmas applied to HIVE/AIDS Like many other diseases, HIVE/AIDS is plagued with stigmas that while they have been proven to not be true, are widely accepted as the truth by the general, often ignorant, public worldwide, forcing its sometimes innocent victims to be labeled with things that have no relation to them whatsoever.
As lectured in class, HIVE was first classified as either the “AH Disease”, Homosexuals, Haitian, heroin users, and hemophilia’s, or GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency, (Wilkinson-Lee, September 2012). This clearly was an inaccurate depiction of the disease; however is the one that most of the public seemed to hold on to and remember as true, “… Early association may have reinforced the connection between sexual ‘deviance’. By the second half of the sass, however, even the most ignorant has to concede that most people infected with AIDS were heterosexual.
Yet the stigma persisted,” (Deli’s & Glasses, 2005). Another stigma that was applied to the disease at an early time is that those who become infected tit HIVE fit into either one of the previously stated categories or into extremely promiscuous category, which then leads many feel that they then deserve to get the disease. While it is true that one having many sexual partners leads to an increased risk of contracting HIVE/AIDS, there are also many other possibilities as to how one can get it that most may not think about.
Although unfortunate, there are many instances where a sexual partner either knowingly brings in the disease or as depicted in A Closer Walk, there are sometimes circumstance that lead an individual to knowingly eave intercourse with someone who is HIVE-positive such as their husband as to not be forced to lose them to another woman who can bare children (Billowier, 2003). There are also instances where an individual may be in what they believe to be in a committed relationship and they unknowingly contract the virus from their partner who unbeknownst to them has been unfaithful.
Yet another scenario that does not fit into any of the above categories is when one contracts it from a partner who was also unaware that they had it and were misled by a false positive on a test because of the Indo of time where it cannot yet be detected or if that partner had not been tested at all, (Wilkinson-Lee, October 2012). Feeling of Distrust Amongst HIVE-linefeed Members of the Christian Church The feelings of distrust felt by many of the HIVE- infected members of the church are well Justified and often cause much stress on the individual due to their inability to be open and honest about their reality.
Based on the findings of Barnes & Meyer, it can be easily ascertained that a religious setting not accepting of LEG present a “hostile social environment” (Barnes & Meyer, 2012). ND due to that they know that there are many within the church that will automatically associate them with those groups belonging to the stigmas. Romans 1 :27 “… [m]en did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved”.
Some from within the religion have interpreted this to be directly related to HIVE and view it as a punishment for homosexuality (Wilkinson-Lee, September 2012) as well as promiscuity. If not homosexual, then many HIVE-infected may fear being labeled as sexually promiscuous. Ezekiel 15:25-26 “On every street corner you defiled your tatty, offering your body to every passerby in an endless stream of prostitution. Then you added lustful Egypt to your lovers, provoking my anger with your increasing promiscuity. This Bible verse makes it quite clear that promiscuity is not permitted within the Christian church; however in more modern times, in less strict sects, it is less likely for all members to follow these rules as strictly as they may have in the past. While that may be true, they still fear being Judged by their peers or superiors from within the church over their private choices. Strategies for Overcoming Feelings f Distrust The reality of those living with HIVE in the Christian community is quite difficult, and it is hard to say what exactly can be done to help improve their situation.
The idea of removing stigma is a lot easier said than done and has not been something that has come easily whatsoever. To remove the stigmas attached to HIVE in hopes of helping ease the distrust they feel, Christians must be willing to learn about all of the discoveries about HIVE/AIDS since its original debut in the media that is to blame for these wide spread stigmas. Unfortunately, try as we may the stigmas of HIVE AIDS will likely never be fully removed from society, especially that of the church. Matthew 7:1-5 states that one should not Judge others for they too may be Judged for something.
Verse 5 says, “Hypocrite! First get rid of the long in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your eye”. This is a part of the scripture that those who choose to Judge others so harshly seem to forget about. One of the only ways for the stigma to be reduced within the church is for all to look back on their own lives and reflect on the negative that they may have done. If this was preached in the church along with the further education on the fact of the current status of HIVE/AIDS such as the fact that approximately 42% of newly HIVE-infected are heterosexual (Billowier, 2003).
If these types of statistics were more widely shared, stigmas of HIVE/AIDS would soon begin to decline. Conclusion The beliefs of Christianity in accordance with the long standing stigmas of WIDTHS have had a lasting effect on those who are living with as HIVE-positive individuals within the community, and their ability to trust that they can be open with their ingratiation about their unfortunate diagnosis without being incorrectly stigmatize.
Ultimately leading to sense of fear at the thought of being left alone to deal with what many believe to be a meager future at the thought that because of their religious beliefs and those of their peers they will be stigmatize, and rejected if they make public their diagnosis and if they do not make it public, they will still be left alone to deal with their illness in silence. The evidence above has made this all abundantly clear and quite understandable as to why one may not want to share