The panel of Thembi Ngubane’s is one of the many apart of the AIDS quilt, that stands out. The bright yellow background nicely brings out the South African flag in the center of the quilt. The panel contains a picture of Thembi speaking on a microphone, most likely about AIDS as she wears the AIDS symbol on her jacket. The AIDS Quilt allows the remembrance the thousands of people that have died from HIV/AIDS. The various symbols and pictures allow for an inference of the life the deceased person, however, many questions are left unanswered. As I research the panel and learn about the life of Thembi Ngubane and her work, I am left with one burning question. What about the others?

The topic of HIV/AIDS is often holds negative stigmas across cultures. The narrow-minded beliefs are almost directly correlated to the overlook of those with AIDS as well as their access to help and further resources. The junction of ignorance, environment, social behavior, and lack of education has created an issue that brings forth difficulties  as it relates to the HIV/AIDS narrative of  not just those living in Africa, but also for minorities of other cultures.

My composition of this paper will first focus on South African culture as it relates to HIV/AIDS. I will begin by analyzing the origin of HIV/AIDS as it relates to the “inception” of the disease and attribution to specific groups of people. Next, I will focus on gender roles in South African (and other) communities as well as how gender inequality plays a role in women’s narratives. Then, I will explain how lack of education in this communities affect the spread and complexity of HIV/AIDS. Lastly, I will focus on activism as a whole in terms of representation and a voice and piece of solitude for the people.

I will also include the panel of Victor L. Laureano, in order to give another view of the acceptance of the disease in other communities. Laureano is of Puerto Rican heritage so, the second part of my essay will give insight on HIV/AIDS in Puerto Rico. In terms of this panel, I will first focus on the way in which HIV/AIDS affects this specific community in terms of diagnosis and statistics. Next, I will pay attention to the way in which AIDS is accepted in the Puerto Rican/Latino community/heritage as well as the way in which it is dealt with amongst the people. Lastly,  will focus on means of solution to the issues face by Puerto Rican people with HIV/AIDS.

In order to bring the two panels together, I will conclude by offering a viewpoint that compares the way in which these vastly different cultures are similarly overlooked. These attitudes will bring forth a better understanding for those that are ignorant, and may not necessarily be dealing with the virus firsthand. The coming together of my research and further accounts will aid in the finding of a common grounds for education on the disease and ways to help those who’s voices and livelihood go unheard.

There are always individuals that appear “numb” to the problems happening around them – because it isn’t happening to them. AIDS is something that has been looked down upon for years, and because of this, it is imperative that we change the way we look at it. As humans, it is somewhat of our moral duty to treat everyone with respect and love, despite how we may feel. Regardless of who we are, everyone deserves to be remembered for individuality – not by an illness.