Stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS is critically derailing calls for inclusion in development activities across the country, a key stakeholder has said.

According to the Malawi Network of People Living with HIV and Aids (MANET+), the country is still lagging behind in ending discrimination – a thing the body says is hindering people living with HIV/AIDS from partaking in development activities.

This follows a revelation by an anonymous person who is living with HIV/AIDS in Tisawasale, a special program which aired on local media earlier this week.

In narrating her story, she said that she has faced outright discrimination and stigma ever since members of her community learnt of her status.

“When I go to fetch water, people there will out-rightly deny to touch the borehole handle immediately after me. Others would even be seen making derogatory gestures to me. This is very sad for me to live in this community,’’ she said.

In an interview, MANET+ Executive Director Lawrence Khonyongwa, said that it is unfortunate that stigma and discrimination remain two of the challenges that persons living with HIV/AIDS face in accessing health services.

‘’These two challenges are what we are decrying. This, as we are saying has led to the exclusion of people living with HIV/AIDS in activities for national development, ’’said Khonyongwa.

MANET+ has since urged government and stakeholders to intensify measures and campaigns that will work towards ending stigma over people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

According to UNAIDS in Malawi by 2018 there were about 1 million people living with HIV.

Credit: MIJ Online

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