Stigma of HIV affects control bid

Kathmandu, November 27:

HIV/AIDS is still regarded as a social stigma and discrimination of HIV positive and AIDS infected prevails in higher degree in our society and this has hampered efforts to control the dreaded disease, speakers said at a programme today. Speaking at an interaction on HIV/AIDS, Rights and the Law organised by Conscious Media Group and Asia Pacific Peoples’ Alliance for Combating HIV/AIDS (APPACHA) in association with Nepal Environmental Legal Practitioners Association (NELA) speakers said that individual and social vulnerability is increasing. Shibu Giri, editor of The HIV Post said that the bigger chunk of community still does not believe that HIV infected can live a normal life. HIV and AIDS patients are barred from using public services and even their presence in social places for noble cause raise eyebrows, he said.

Billions of rupees of global fund being spent for HIV/AIDS has been unable to uplift the situation as the beneficiaries receive a small portion of the fund, Giri said. “Education is a key instrument in abolishing discrimination against HIV positive and AIDS infected. Constitution, statues, regulations and code of conducts are all tools to fight against discrimination. However, the degree of advocacy is low,” said Meghraj Pokharel advocate and focal person at HIV/AIDS Unit, NELA. Discovering that one is HIV positive brings with it a multitude of anxieties and concerns that result from the fear and uncertainty about how other people react, he said.