‘AIDS discrimination more prevalent in rural areas’

National, Normal

DISCRIMINATION against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) is prevalent in rural areas.
According to Joyce Tina,  whose uncle has AIDS, PLHIV in rural areas were still subjected to stigma and discrimination, confirming the widening gap on the treatment of PLHIV in the urban and rural settings.
“From my own observation and experience, the literate who are able to involve themselves in non-profit organisations dealing with HIV/AIDS, are the ones who take the lead in creating awareness while the silent majority are in the villages.
“Only people in the urban areas have respect for those infected because of the awareness campaigns in the fight against the deadly disease,” she said.
She said her uncle experienced discrimination due to his AIDS status.
“The attitude of the people towards my uncle changed after he was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. I felt so much sympathy for him. I helped by getting his antiretroviral medication, fed and even bathed him.
“The people were scared to get near to him. The gossiping also caused my uncle a lot of worry and anxiety,” she said.
She said PLHIV in urban settings had much more freedom and were able to participate equally in every activity.
Ms Tina said PLHIV in urban areas were respected and seen as ordinary people, unlike those in villages who faced the full brunt of discrimination.
She suggested a way to get rid of the stigma in the rural areas was by establishing aid posts where care, counselling, treatment and awareness could be carried out.