Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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The D’Souza Diary

Dominic D'Souza's battle against prejudice, discrimination and ostracism of AIDS and HIV patients in Indian society has not yet been won, says film maker Onir...

The D’Souza Diary
The D’Souza Diary The D’Souza Diary

Fear and Loathing

Back in the late 1980s, the acronym still freshly evoked that strange, intense fear of the unknown—a biological version of xenophobia. And the knee-jerk response: banishment, ostracism, or their medical variants. It was as good as incarceration for the man they called ‘Goa’s Patient Zero’. This May, we mark 25 years since Dominic D’Souza died. Sadly, we cannot say the stigmatisation brought on by the letters AIDS and HIV has ended. Dominic’s battle against prejudice, discrimination and ostracism of patients in Indian society has not yet been won. Far from it. Just recently, an acquaintance of mine reached out to me seeking help. He had been diagnosed as HIV-positive. He managed somehow to keep it under wraps for a bit but when it was no longer possible to hide it, the discrimination started at his workplace. They didn’t fire him but they made it so difficult for him to survive that he finally resigned. I don’t want to reveal his identity but he’s a creative artist…very sensitive and totally shattered by what’s happened. He desperately needed counselling. That’s the way the cookie crumbles still.

Brain Canker
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