Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has been one of the threatening diseases of the 20th century. Discrimination directed at people perceived to have AIDS/HIV leads to their early grave, according to a New York Health Journal. In Aarhus- Denmark 1989, based on true events, an immigrant from West Africa narrates his ordeal as a victim of discrimination, after taking care of an Aids patient.
Benta a Danish white woman loses all his family and friends, shortly after she was diagnosed with the disease. Kofi an illegal immigrant, struggling for accommodation, money for public transport and food to eat, accepted the task and challenges of taking care of the poor woman. It was Benta’s case Kofi had initial knowledge that Aids actually could attack both white and black. All the time he thought it was a black issue due to its devastation in Africa.
Most African men knew how to cook because when they were young boys, they’d sit by their mothers to cook. With Benta at home, he found it interesting to provide her whatever meal she wanted under her supervision, did the shopping and all the errands. Saturday evening was set for laundry, when used clothes were usually washed including the bed spreads and towards the evening everything is pressed nicely.
After a couple of weeks, Benta’s condition deteriorated and she was admitted at the hospital. That was the last time Kofi was to see her. At home, he received information that one of Benta’s leg had been amputated. According to the doctor, without amputation she wouldn’t live long. That news alone affected Kofi emotionally and psychologically, realizing the situation he had placed himself. This was too tough for him to handle.
Every effort to visit her at the hospital was prevented by her family. The next news was devastating. Benta died without Kofi knowing where she was buried. Soon after Benta’s death, Kofi who took care of her became a target of discrimination in the community where he lived. Even in the house of God where discrimination shouldn’t be possible, Kofi wasn’t spared.
At church service, the elder of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at the branch serving Aarhus, called and questioned him if he wasn’t a risk to other members of the church.
“But I have no Aids.” Said Kofi.
“What shows that you haven’t contracted the disease?” Asked the church leader.
“I have done Aids test and I am negative.” Kofi replied. The church elder wasn’t satisfied until the Kofi brought his test result for him to read.
The question is “Aids Doesn’t Discriminate, So Why Do We? Joel’s book seeks to bring love, respect and to discourage the discrimination against AIDS/HIV victims. The door should actually be slammed against Aids, not the victim. The book dedicated to all AIDS/HIV victims, eliminates all fears of taking care of Aids patients and brings the human side to the forefront.