Discrimination riles Aids patients
People living with HIV/ Aids in the country have raised concerns over continued stigma and discrimination against them.
This was disclosed during the commemoration of Zero Stigma Discrimination Day in Lilongwe on Tuesday under the theme “Celebrate Individuality and Stand Out.”
Speaking during the event, Chief of Health Services, Charles Mwansambo, said it was disheartening to note that people living with the virus are still being discriminated 30 years after the first case was diagnosed in the country.
“It is unfortunate in the sense that from the discussion we heard, some real life stories [about people] being discriminated, there should be no room for discrimination because all of us deserve the right to dignity, to live and to be healthy,” Mwansambo said.
UNAids Country Director, Amakobe Sande, said stigma and discrimination hinder the ability to access health services and the ability to live productive lives.
“Stigma and discrimination needlessly increase the suffering associated with HIV, affect the overall well-being and health of those affected, and undermine the ability of people living with HIV to remain productive, self-supporting citizens and reach their human potential,” Sande said.
Sande said nations must ensure that patients’ privacy and confidentiality are respected.
National Aids Commission (Nac) acting Executive Director, Davie Kalomba, said the commission will continue to advocate and sensitise the communities about the rights of people living with HIV/ Aids.
Among other discriminations that people living with the virus face are verbal insults, name-calling and disclosure of status without their consent.
Some are further allegedly denied access to good health care services including facing problems to access life-prolonged drugs, Anti Retroviral drugs.
According to the 2013 stigma index, approximately 98 percent of respondents reported that they had felt pressured to disclose their HIV status by others. Nearly half of the respondents (46.6 percent) had been advised by a health professional not to have children after being diagnosed HIV-positive.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues