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Recognition tug of war in HIV advocacy

For Posit Bo, “it is necessary to end our struggle for recognition in our advocacies with the objective of promoting our own interest… The excessive demand for recognition in advocacy must now be replaced with mutual respect in propriety of the cause to which we are all interested.”

One sees the values of his works through the eyes of another. It has been said that recognition has a normative and psychological dimension. Our self-consciousness is the perception of another’s awareness of oneself. Personal and organizational identity has become fundamentally dependent on the experience of adequate recognition from the community.

Now, is it practical for the theory on recognition to be applied in the case of HIV and AIDS advocacy?

Advocacy, as defined, is the public support for particular cause or policy. Advocating is thus a noble passion. It shouldn’t carry any smudges of dishonorable personal interest leading to the failure of the cause.

Advocacy is not about becoming an instant celebrity in the community; but is about advancing the greater good. It is not about who has done more, but is about collectively doing more. There’s no gauge in determining who has the better policy in the advocacy because in advocacy, we are all supposedly in equal footing determined by the same goal. Thus no one is superior over another. Albeit; Lapses being inevitable, as humans, we are vulnerable to committing mistakes. Who doesn’t? But should it arise, we must neither use nor employ these lapses committed by advocates to destroy their cause. Human nature would dictate us to deal with the blunders of others by decently calling their attention without the need of them being humiliated.

Despite being a noble passion, it is my observation, however, that some advocates has fondly grown an intense desire to magnify their names in the community, instead of the cause being deepened for the common good of the community.

What benefit do we get from producing stars in the advocacy? How do struggling patients from SLH, PGH, and RITM benefit from innuendos and tirades of advocates against one from another?

Perhaps, we should also start calling to put an end in the scandalous behaviors of some who identifies themselves as advocates.

Becoming an advocate requires humungous dedication and hard work. One cannot become an advocate by merely expressing his advocacy publicly. Advocacy is not just about claiming to be an advocate. Advocacy is equivalent to progressive action rather than passive inaction. It can neither be said that a positive diagnosis for HIV/AIDS is an express ticket nor license to the advocacy. One becomes an advocate when he truly understands the cause by exemplifying affirmative actions engaged in the cause; which should preferably be multiple, continuous, and instantaneous; rather than single, isolated, and orchestrated. This is how we become advocates.

Today, advocacy has become one of the most used and abused terminologies. Could we save some decency for the word? Personal accounts have circulated online about some individuals who have taken advantage of the term. Though unverified, it remains as it is – disturbing! There are those who has taken advantage of the term in all sorts from pecuniary interest to lascivious intents. These, perhaps explains the recurring episodes of an upheaval to “stardom” and forgetting the esse of advocacy.

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It is necessary to end our struggle for recognition in our advocacies with the objective of promoting our own interest. Desist from illuminating the psychological need for recognition. In philosophy, self-consciousness is considered as a struggle for recognition between individuals bound to one another as non-equals in a relationship of dependence. Thus, premises considered, recognition is not necessary in the advocacy, as advocates being placed in an equal footing. The excessive demand for recognition in advocacy must now be replaced with mutual respect in propriety of the cause to which we are all interested.

We must all know by now that HIV and AIDS advocacy intricately demands intellectual and emotional understanding. There can be no intellectual and emotional understanding, if the core of our advocacy is centered on the names and the faces more than the cause. It is not about who advocates but it is about what is being advocated.

Like all other communities, organization, or sub-groups; politicking is imminent but instead of maximizing the complexity of our community, let us try to minimize it because ours is a different structure. May we not forget that we are joined by one common goal more than being divided by a foreign element? Diverse, as we are, but we are one at heart.

Written By

Posit Bo was "reborn" on the 9th of February 2015, when - after he was diagnosed to be HIV-positive - he said that "a new life and a new persona was created." But Posit Bo remains positive (pun intended) about his condition, which he now employs in his advocacy to educate, inspire, and motivate persons regardless of their status. "I am here to share not the virus but my story and wisdom about my condition," Posit Bo says. "I am HIV-positive, but I am still loved, hence, I won't quit but will continue living the life I want."


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