For many years, twenty-nine-year -old Mrs. Helen Ashley has not only known about but has seen unquestionable evidence of the prevalence, the universality and dreadfulness of HIV/AIDS. She has verified speculative and scientifically established opinions about this disease; she knows of its causes and preventions and has, to the best of her ability, observed every precaution she has learnt about: Sexual continence and faithfulness; insistence on sterilized and meticulously screened blood samples for each and all of her blood transfusions; avoidance of syringe needle or even of blade sharing. She is also cognizant of the fact that though enlightenment and campaigns against stigmatization of HIV/AIDs carriers are on the increase in her community and that these are yielding visible fruits, here and there are still to be found conservative traditionalist, religious dogmatist and even sophisticated and highly qualified professionals who discriminate against known people living with HIV/AIDs.
No sooner than such people become aware of the positive HIV/AIDs status of a man or woman do they mentally brand him or her as an outcast, one to be instantly subjected to social and official discriminative hardships. Mrs Ashley knows of the one-sided mentality of these people, the unchanging narrow-mindedness which makes them regard every one living with HIV/AIDs as the harvester of the proceeds from inexcusable, irresponsible and immoral promiscuity, belonging to the lowest rungs of the depraved ladder of filthy immorality.
This fact explains the suicides which many an unfortunate victim of rape or unscreened-blood transfusion have committed; it explains why people living with HIV/AIDs rigidly conceal their status, why men and women of the community take every known precaution against contracting it – and why Mrs. Ashley has been meticulous almost to a fault in...