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STIGMATISATION, GENDER EQUALITY AND HIV/AIDS

In spite of different modes to contract HIV, like for instance through blood transfusion, many still relate the disease only to someone’s sexual life as such hold a negative view against victims of the disease.

Despites high awareness levels, HIV/AIDS remain highly stigmatized in Zimbabwe. Victims of HIV are often perceived as having done something wrong, and discrimination is frequently directed at both them and their relatives. Many are scared to carryout HIV test for fear of being socially disoriented, losing their partners or jobs. Those who have not checked their statues do not profess it publicly, since it would seem they do not have access to sufficient care and support.

There is an inclination that the stigma surrounding HIV is gradually diminishing in Zimbabwe, although it remains a significant problem. Various attempts have been made to improve the situation hence the 2005 “Don’t Be Negative about Being Positive’ campaign. Organised by PSI-Zimbabwe, this campaign encourages people to reveal their HIV- positive status and to share their stories.

In Zimbabwe, there are large social and economic gaps between women and men, and this inequality have played a central role in the spread of HIV. Constructive attitudes towards female sexuality contrast with tolerant ones towards the sexual activity of men. As a result, men often have multiple partners while the women have little or no say to instigate the use of condom and sexual abuse, rape and coerced sex are all prevalent

Campaigns on preventive measure that accentuate safe sex by the use of condoms, fidelity for couples and abstinence before marriage; often fail because people do not take into account such realities thus ignore them. This tendency is more applicable to the lives of men folks than those of women. There is also a likelihood of women to be poorer and less educated then their male counterpart, making them susceptible to HIV infection and equally defers their chances to access treatment, care and information.

A report on ‘Women and HIV in Zimbabwe’ by Bassett MT and Mhloyi M from the Department of Community Medicine, Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe, stated that, ‘the intersection of traditional culture with the colonial legacy and present-day political economy has influenced family structure and sexual relation, and particularly the social position of women…

From Zimbabwe’s historical experience land expropriation, rural impoverishment, and the forcible introduction of male migrant labour fostered new sexual relations pattern, characterized by multiple partners. Traditional patriarchal values reinterpreted in European law resulted in further female subjugation of women with even their limited rights to ownership withdrawn. For many women, sexual relations with men, either within marriage – for the majority or outside, becomes inextricably linked to economic and social survival…

In Zinbabwe, patriarchy and colonialism appear to be the most significant social legacies responsible for the family structure and sexual behaviour associated with HIV infection. The social context of AIDS in Zimbabwe features a migrant labour system, rapid urbanization, constant war with high level of military mobilization, landlessness, poverty, and the subordination of women...’

Comments

Fairy Red's picture

Thank you!

I thank you for posting this. It's informative and I learned something. I hope others read this and learn of the problems women face over there, too. More awareness on this subject is just what we need now.

~Faye

Every time you smile, you make the world a better place. :3

ENIE NDOH CECILE's picture

YOU WELCOME ALWAYS!

I'm gratified you find the post informative.

All the Best
Cecile

olutosin's picture

SOLUTION?

Sister,

How are you?
Do you believe that I met a woman on Tuesday who was deliberately infected by husband because he said he would not want to die and the woman remains alive, she is a graduate looking for a job, she has theree chidren, the husband moved back to the village in Imo state whiloe the woman is from Delta state, the man wants the woman to move to the village with him, whereas everyone has heard, stigmatization begins already, our people are yet to be educated o this. The woman is really suffering because the was debated in a meeting of people working for victims and I went to represent my boos. When it comes to HIV stigamatization, women are really at the receiving end.

Again , I was in Abuja for a training on resource mobilization for HIV. on March 23-27, 2009 One of the participants is HIV positive and she told me tha t her husband divorced her because of the status, she did CS and she got infected through blood transfusion, the man who she had a son and a daughter for already threw her out because his parents said so.
Actually she beagn a movement and move on with her life, but is there a solution in sight for our people bacjk home here who still believe that when one is HIV positive then she is a prostitutte?

Keep on psoting sister, we are learning

Love ya,

Olutosin

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

ENIE NDOH CECILE's picture

It's Sad...

My sister i'm good for God is in control.

I have just written another article for my HIV/AIDS column. Actually this is the message i'm trying to bringout. I have realised that most people who are infected with HIV/AIDS are pervert and develop this saddist tendency by trying to infect as many people as possible claiming they never bought the disease neither have they committed any sin to warrant such punishment.

From my point of view,this vile thought has to be abolish if not the fight to curb or prevent the disease will never be successful.
Many has embarked in distributing and spreading the illness not realisng the impact in the society.
Perhaps they hold they will be leaving the world and don't care what happens to the world when they depart, but forget the world is like a stage, we all have our roles to play but we need to leave it better than we met it.

Again, some one might be HIV positive but another person who is not seriously sick can meet untimely death like in an accident or some people we see are walking corpses, they are even ignorant they are sick. Like a program i watched about this truck driver who died in a crash and the truck went into flames.

His employers felt he was driving under influence but his family wanted to clear his name so ordered for an autopsy to be conducted, that was when they saw he had taken just asprine but it was discovered his heart was inflamated and weighed far more than a normal heart is suppose to weigh and that it was just like a time bomb for he would have dropped death any time. So it was then realised he had a heart failure while driving that night resulting to the accident.

Besides in Africa the mortality for water and sanitation related disease are higher meanwhile HIV/AIDS victims still enjoy a longer lifespan from the initial stage of the Virus to it's maturity.
If instead they could be committed to advocate and counsel others and take neccessary precautions not to infect others talkless their love ones, then there is sure to be some progress as the fight against HIV/AIDS is concern.

This man who has infected the wife saying he cannot die and leave her, what about the kids, what future does he hold for them if they are orphans? Is he not aware of continuity. He is really wicked and selfish.

Well my dear that's that we need to pray really hard for God to protect us from such malice.

Stay Blessed

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