Thursday 26 June 2014

Berlin: Lest We Forget Those We Lost To Sexually Transmitted Infections

Stones of remembrance
Just further down the road at the big junction on the right after Wittenbergplatz but before Nollendorfplatz at An der Urania in Berlin stands a black marble stone with a red AIDS ribbon and one other on the ground, a square with inscriptions.
The quarter of space marked by a number of streets to the right also harbours many meeting places of people who have most been affected by HIV/AIDS as it scythed through the young with the vengeance of an unforgiving and unrelenting Grim Reaper.
However, this memorial did not just think of HIV/AIDS but it included Hepatitis and broadly Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).
Before you get holier than thou
Very easily, one can be sanctimonious and sententious as if completely unaffected and that might be the case for the abstainer, the celibate or the eunuch.
We however cannot deny that we are sexual beings and the desire to fulfil that need exists in the majority.
Some have experienced it through consent, some through violation, some as their innocence was snatched away by the unconscionably reprehensible, in violence or by subterfuge, none of which apart from the first are in the slightest, fun.
Death still looms
The greater point is to be aware of one's sexual health regardless of risks taken and to avail oneself of immediate treatment before other complications arise.
The rather innocuous infections can easily be vectors and vehicles enabling greater susceptibility to incurable diseases of which HIV is one and besides there is a rise in co-infections with the difficult to cure Hepatitis C.
Even in the West, people still die of these diseases as in some cases some diseases are becoming resistant to the heretofore effective drug therapies, like Gonorrhoea.
A memorial to all
What really touched me most was not that this was a memorial to the dearly and unfortunately departed, but that many living souls might have walked past a memorial to themselves.
Our secrets, fears, infidelities, embarrassment, shame, habits, ignorance, daring, promiscuity, innocence, naivety, stupidity, carelessness, carefreeness or just our plain humanity can put us in a place of pain.
We can mitigate those issues with accepting whom we are, being honest to ourselves and using the help to ensure we are no sooner victims than we should be.
To those we lost, you are never forgotten. Shalom!

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