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Stigma

He was crossing the road and abruptly a running car crashed him. Sudden shock faded his mind. He went into an unconscious state of mind. Everything was unclear and shadowy. His name was Nadeem. He was an accountant in a reputed firm. On that day, he was leaving his office in the evening to pick his car on the other side of the road. In a hurry to get home soon, he delayed the influx of a misfortune (someone rightly said: It is better to arrive late instead of being belatedly forever). The car driver ran away, but there was a blessed soul around. He ran to lend a helping hand to Nadeem. His name was Saleem. Saleem didn’t wait for the ambulance as it usually arrives late. He put Nadeem in the car and took him to a nearby hospital. Doctor asked Saleem to arrange for blood as Nadeem had excessively lost a great amount of it. Fortunately, Nadeem’s blood group was same as Saleem’s and the blood transfusion saved Nadeem’s life. He was grateful to Saleem for his kindness and thanked him whole heartedly. After a few days, Nadeem got discharged from the hospital and got back to living his life with his family (a loving wife, a son & a daughter). Saleem ran a car workshop near Nadeem’s office. This coincident served as a blessing for Nadeem. But fate was thinking of something untoward.
After six months, Nadeem witnessed a blood camp and decided to donate blood for thalassemia patients. Sometimes your good deeds generate worse results. He was waiting to donate blood, but after the blood tests, doctor declined to take his blood. He tried to find out the reason and got the worst news of his life. His report declared him a HIV positive. This news fell on him like a heavy stone. He couldn’t believe it. He got his blood tested from other places and visited various doctors but some watermarks can’t be removed. He felt like being trodden beneath a ton, drowning in subterranean water and hanged between life and death. He faced the after effects of the news as he was living in a society filled with stigma and taboos. His wife Sadaf left him blaming him of being guilty. He lost his job, friends, and family. His neighbors forced him to leave the place. He became a vulnerable individual in the society. A person who was a helper, now turned into a helpless. The discrimination was burning him more than the virus. He turned into a symbol of sin. He was sad and often wondered how it all happened. He tried to convince his family, but all in vain. He later realized that he had contracted HIV during blood transfusion after his accident. Saleem who saved him from death, put him on the death zone again. For Nadeem brightest sun turned into the darkest night, romantic weather turned into a pain of separation and he no longer celebrated spring or autumn.

After a few months he was lying on the bed, unable to sleep and observed the night changing into light. The sunrise showed him the path. How darkness turned into brightness. This was not an unknown secret but sometimes, life teaches you lessons the hard way. He joined a campaign of awareness against discrimination to HIV/AIDS affected people, instead of waiting for death. We need to fight against discrimination, but firstly we need to bring about awareness amongst people and eliminate taboos related to HIV from the society.

by Umair Asif
www.facebook.com/umair732

Comments

Susan K.A.'s picture

Thanks for your piece

Dear Umair,

Thanks for sharing this story. It's tragic what happened to Nadeem, but his sad story illuminates the needs for raising awareness about the causes of HIV and ending discrimination. How inspiring that he was able to transform his personal pain and tragedy into a force for positive change!

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