Africa Network of AIDS Service Organisations (SANASO)
November 2000, I was in a group of Community representatives
who attended a Media Relations training Workshop organised by
the African Council of AIDS Service Organisations (AfriCASO).
At this Workshop, Community groups in Africa expressed
concern about HIV/AIDS related Stigma and discrimination which
are still very much widespread and being encountered in many
spheres of life throughout the continent.
living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) continue to experience Stigma and
discrimination manifested in many ways including loss of
employment, education, travel, insurance, health care and
other social amenities. Some have experienced ostracism, hostility and violence.
The burden of Stigma is so heavy that we believe that
many PLWA prefer to take refuge in denial rather than face
'social death'. In an effort to eliminate HIV/AIDS related
Stigma and discrimination, some Community groups are
implementing and others plan to implement the following
Information & Education
Provision of AIDS information and education for the general
public to change the underlying negative perceptions which
contribute to the vulnerability, stigmatisation and
discrimination of People living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Promoting the active involvement of PLWA in AIDS educational
programmes in an effort to increase awareness in the general
public. By doing things and using their experiences, PLWA can
challenge negative attitudes and encourage acceptance by
the capacity of PLWA to cope with the emotional issues
surrounding HIV/AIDS will enable them to effectively
participate in such programmes. PLWA of high socio-economic
standing in the communities are being encouraged to take up
the challenge of being public advocates in the campaign
against HIV/AIDS related Stigma.
Intensifying advocacy efforts to promote and protect the human
rights of PLWA. Community groups called upon African
Governments to enact legislation and formulate policies which
safeguard the human rights of PLWA and protect them against
Stigma and discrimination. Such policies should be implemented
at both social and Institutional levels. Community groups
continue to play a 'watchdog' role over Institutions and the
general public to monitor the implementation of such policies:
to document cases of discrimination and violence against PLWA:
and to assist sufferers of Stigma take legal action to protect
their full human rights.
CBOs and PLWA in Africa welcome efforts by researchers to
address the problem of HIV/AIDS related Stigma and are very
keen to be active participants in the research process.
Ms Farai Mugweni
P O Box 6690
Tel: 263 4 745748
Fax: 263 4 745749