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Monday, May 27, 2024
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HIV stigma and discrimination on the increase in Zim

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

STIGMA and discrimination against people with HIV remains a major cause for concern after a recent survey conducted by the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV revealed that it is close to 70 percent.

The Zimbabwe Stigma Index 2.0 Report launched this Wednesday revealed that overall stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV now stands at 69.7%, up from 65.5% in 2014.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro called for a strengthened multi-sectoral approach in curbing the scourge if the country is to stop AIDS from being a public health threat by 2030.

“We need to do more, we need to work from within the people with HIV themselves because if you check most of it is self-imposed stigma, but definitely this must end. Even though individuals have their own feelings about the HIV society and communities we need to change our attitude towards people living with HIV and AIDS.

“We must be aware that nobody chooses to be sick and most importantly it starts with you to end this stigma and discrimination starting with people with HIV themselves self-confidence also helps. As government we are in full support and ready to support people living with HIV in the direction that might also help in making sure that this discrimination index goes down,” he said.

The Executive Director of the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV, Mr Tatenda Makoni noted the need for stakeholders to commit to action and increase awareness on the effects of stigma.
“What’s next? What we are going to do is the most important question we should be asking ourselves.

These figures reflect the increased need to raise more awareness on the effects of stigma and discrimination. Let’s take this opportunity to commit to action,”noted Makoni.

The survey which was conducted by the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV in all the country‘s ten provinces used 1400 people living with the virus.

The focus for the organisation is to meet the global targets to reduce HIV related stigma to less than 10% and end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

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