Yes I am. So what????!!!!
Indian Law, like all other laws, strongly protect and safeguard our rights as an individual. To disclose or not to disclose solely lies on us. But given the Indian conservative and orthodox values, stigma, discrimination and ostracism are the potential risk factors we face. The fear of being outcasted by the society we live in is the main cause of the silence amongst PLWHA.
But somewhere the walls have to be broken. Someone has to break it. I know it is not easy, but I also believe that it is not difficult either. Along with disclosure comes emotional and mental traumas. Rejection brings in depression that, at times, can turn suicidal for some. It really takes lot of guts and courage to stand up on your own and fight. To battle all those negative vibes. To overcome frustrations. To be brave enough to say “YES, I AM. SO WHAT?”
Me being slightly hearing disabled is one of my greatest blessings so that I am not able to hear what people say about/against me behind my back. But whatever people think, don’t let it destroy you. Remember, you are not fighting for your own, you are fighting for the rest of the people. And when you stand up, the rest of us take notice. The issues of Ryan White and Cecily Bolden have garnered huge international outcry. So, to disclose or not to disclose is more like Damocles Sword, depending on the time, place, people and the situation. Remember, not all people are conservative. There are some who are understanding enough and will support you while there are some who are afraid to even come near you. There are some who will admire you while there are some who will hate you. To me this is called THE BALANCING ACT. This helps one to thrive in case of adversaries. To think of a solution rather than running away from a problem. And this helps a person to grow, to evolve to a higher platform of human understanding called “humanity”. To be humble as a blade of grass and tolerant as a tree. To be patient and understanding, respecting the feeling of others, whether they accept us or not. “Believers” v/s “atheists”. Happiness v/s sufferings, which make the part of our life. There are also people called HIV-Denialists. Not all 5 fingers are the same. Similarly, even the mind and understanding of the people are varied, depending on their cultural background and social upbringing.
So, what I am trying to imply is: Stand on your own feet. Think you are your own boss. Think that you are the leader of the pack. And ROAR!!!!!! When the king of the jungle roars (lion), the whole ground trembles. Never underestimate even an ant! Don’t be at the mercy of others. Why make yourself feel unworthy just because you have a virus? You yourself are more powerful than the mere virus. You are worth every person’s life. You are priceless. Your value is worth many other PLWHAs. Now that you know who you are, and neither the emotions nor the virus can destroy you, let’s come out in the open, care a damn about the world and scream from top of our lungs “YES I AM! SO WHAT!!!” (note the question changing to exclamation!)