CONTRACTING HIV/AIDS is never condemnation to begging and living a worthless life, as some HIV-positive individuals have proved to be highly productive people, leading lives as any other person, Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) Chairperson, Dr Fatma Mrisho, said.
Dr Mrisho said people living with HIV/AIDS could join forces and form income-generating groups. Delivering a report compiled by various stakeholders - UN Children Fund (Unicef), TACAIDS, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and some private associations - on a four-day tour of Dar es Salaam Region held last month, Dr Mrisho said:
"It is living proof - we have found a group of people living with Aids that has been able to create financial support of their own and they do not have to depend on people for help or to sympathise with them."
Dr Mrisho also urged people living with Aids to join institutions such as the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). On the other hand, she said what was seen in the field, apart from the successful groups of people living with Aids, was that Dar es Salaam had many entertainment halls which might contribute to an increase in the AIDS virus transmission.
She said Dar es Salaam was among cities with many people having more than one partner, something which contributes to the spread of HIV/Aids.
"Statistics show that five per cent of women in Dar es Salaam have more than one man, while four per cent countrywide have more than one partner," Dr Mrisho said.
The aim of the tour was to find out more about the Aids situation in the region and to exchange skills and knowledge on how to reduce the spread with different stakeholders.
"This is because, at the end of the day, we all want an Aids-free Tanzania. It is through such kind of studies and tours that we shall be able to know exactly where we are and what we should do to get what we want to achieve," she added.