Stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS

24th September, 2017

Despite massive nationwide campaigns against stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS, the impact has not yet been felt in some parts of the country. This is highlighted in my interview with Najib, a student in one of the colleges in Eldoret town who hails from Garissa County. He says that HIV is greatly feared in his community and most cases of HIV/AIDS are always kept secret. Infected individuals usually hide their status and hardly disclose this to their partners or families. Najib said this is due to discrimination and stigmatization by community members as most people associate HIV/AIDS with immorality on the victims' part. As such, those who were infected by their partners or born with HIV/AIDS find it hard to come out and seek help from the community. Najib said that the situation is even worse for the children born with HIV/AIDS. They are kept and taken care of indoors and their families take care to keep their status unknown to others. He highlights that most of these children end up dying because they are not given access to proper medical care. Luckily, with the intervention of some Non-governmental organizations, some have been identified and linked with needed medical care. He urged the stakeholders to create more awareness to end stigmatization.