Sheatwork mulls over an anti-discrimination drive, thus supporting and promoting entrepreneurship amongst people with AIDS
Discrimination is top of mind, when people around the world get together to celebrate Zero Discrimination Day.
What is the background? The UN first celebrated Zero Discrimination Day on March 1, 2014 – after UNAIDS, a UN program on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.
Despite many advancements in the world, it is still a pity that “discrimination” exists and continues to undermine efforts to achieve a more just, equitable world. We keep reading about how it causes pain and suffering for many. Discrimination has many forms, from racial or religious discrimination to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or age, and to bullying at school or at work.
No one should ever be discriminated against because of their HIV status, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, language, geographical location or migrant status, or for any other reason. A reality check is that people face discrimination every day based on who they are or what they do.
The discrimination against AIDS, HIV-positive people has manifested itself in books and movies too. But this ‘stigma of AIDS’ is visible in India and anyone who is HIV-positive or has AIDS continues to feel the whiplash of contempt and discrimination, from the moment their condition is discovered. To counter this treatment, the Indian parliament passed a new law in 2017, that made it illegal to discriminate against those with HIV/AIDS in jobs, housing, education, or in public life.
Although attitudes in the big metros such as New Delhi and Bombay have softened slightly as people become more aware and sensitive, deep fear (sometimes, bordering on hatred), continues to be the norm in more socially-conservative smaller towns and rural areas, where attitudes tend to be based on ignorance and superstition.
So, in spite of laws, the stigma against HIV/AIDS still endures.
Discrimination will not disappear without actively addressing the ignorance, practices and beliefs that fuel it. Ending discrimination requires action from everyone. Zero Discrimination Day is an opportunity to highlight how everyone can be a part of the transformation and take a stand towards a more fair and just society.
It is a good occasion to request society to take a pledge to encourage those who may be HIV-positive to do something positive in life. Give them all support, to become financially independent, so that they could start businesses of their own. This will turn their mind on to a more positive track and it will keep them busy. Thus, they can become responsible citizens, contributing to the growth and welfare of the nation!
So, join the wake-up call for #zerodiscrimination. Let’s drive the black cloud of “discrimination” away from the horizon!