English | Dzongkha Monday, July 16, 2018

Coming out in the open

Nov 23, 2011

On December 1, as the nation observes the world AIDS day, a group of Bhutanese living with HIV have decided to come out in the open, participating in a discussion on BBS TV to share the trauma of living with the virus and the inevitability of confronting the issue head on.

It is a conscious decision, a decision they have arrived at after debating the consequences over three years. It is a decision they had taken with only one objective. That of helping the nation deal with the issue.

One of them is a 41-year-old man. He was detected HIV positive 13 years ago. His wife has been found positive. So have two of his children.

For over a year, he kept it a secret, even from his wife. He was ashamed. He was guilt ridden.

He was a shattered man. When he finally informed his close relatives, he was in for further disappointment.

“Nobody gave me support, not even my family members and relatives. I think they were ashamed. Even when I called them, they wouldn’t receive my calls.”

Things have not changed much but he has come to terms with it. He is aware of how the society may react. How friends and colleagues may receive him. But he is determined that he will come out in the open, to help tackle the issue, help others living with the virus, and in small measure help the society deal with the issue including stigmatisation.

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