In every culture, there are certain topics that are considered taboo, and then there are certain topics that are considered taboo in every single culture whether it is discussions surrounding sex or sexuality or topics such as AIDS.
While December 1st of every year is celebrated as world AIDS day, the awareness surrounding such an important topic remains to be a taboo conversation in almost every part of the world.
Discovered first in 1983 by Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier, AIDS was widely dismissed as many as the mentality of ‘this is not my problem, I could never catch this’. And it appears that not much has changed since then and now as the awareness surrounding AIDS and HIV barely exists, and discussing the topic in public will definitely get you some looks.
Over the years, AIDS became less of a life-threatening illness and more of a day celebrated by companies as a marketing tactic on every first of December. The most recent world AIDS day is celebrated on December 2022, the Maldives also had a rude awakening regarding the illness and it was that the Maldives does in fact has people who are battling this illness even if nobody talks about it.
During the 2022 World AIDS Day, Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that there are 22 people receiving treatment for HIV in the Maldives and 15 deaths caused by the illness and yet we only talk about this once a year.
While these statistics were revealed by HPA, there are probably more active cases of HIV and AIDS in the Maldives as the severity of taboo surrounding the topic has probably discouraged many from getting tested.
In a country such as the Maldives where sex education is deemed a shameful topic to discuss, it is no surprise that many are unaware that HIV testing is even available in the Maldives.
According to HPA, these services are available in all hospitals across the Maldives and if tested positive help is available through further testing at Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) through the national AIDS program.
Even with the Maldives marking World AIDS day once a year, the discussion of how to prevent the infection and the proper measures to take if infected are never talked about. One of the many topics that have become a taboo in the Maldives over the years, the discussions surrounding AIDS has become an increasingly important topic to finally start talking about.
After years of looking down on people starting these conversations, maybe it is finally time for Maldivians to accept open discourse on ‘taboo’ topics.