‘Stigma, discrimination more damaging than HIV/AIDS’

National, Normal

HIV/AIDS does not kill faster, stigma and discrimination does.
This was one of the messages delivered by more than 140 “true warriors” of HIV/AIDS who took to the streets of Mt Hagen, Western Highlands province, for the first time last Friday to create a mass awareness on the epidemic.
Laying aside the discrimination that could be associated with it, these true warriors, armed with educational pamphlets and their testimonies, spoke in their hope to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The true warriors association was formed two years ago by People Living with HIV/AIDS in the province and had a total of 147 registered members.
In an educational and rather moving campaign, the true warriors spoke publicly whilst avoiding risks of stigma and discrimination which could be associated with it.
They spoke to a small crowd who braved the sun and chose to attend the awareness instead of the political rally held by the National Alliance Party.
The warriors spoke of their personal status, challenges and life experiences they were facing.
TWA president, Tilo Simon, said the awareness was purposely to educate   people that the epidemic was here to stay and everyone should assist in the fight against HIV/AIDS.