Tanzania: Stop Stigmatizing Plwd, Public Reminded

THE public has been advised to stop stigmatizing women, girls and People with Disabilities (PLWD) as well people living with HIV/ AIDS and instead support them, where they need assistance.

The advised was made in Dodoma over the weekend by the UN Women Coordinator of HIV Programmes in the country, Mr Jacob Kayombo saying the groups have been experiencing high level of discrimination and stigma, adding that the situation affects their progress.

While supporting a training to provide district council leaders and HIV/AIDS with a network so that they also become ambassadors in the society, he further said it the best way to address stigma in the society.

Mr Kayombo noted that stigma and discrimination draw back HIV programmes in the society, hence become violation of human rights.

Coordinated by the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) with support from the Global Fund, the training objective was to educate the leaders and to enable them go into the villages and wards with the right messages on HIV/AIDS.

He noted that for the country to meet the global target of ending HIV/Aids by 2030, it has to invest efforts to end stigma towards people living with the scourge.

Kayombo said that people living with HIV/AIDS are still left behind and neglected from various opportunities with some of facing challenges like access to good health services.

"So, we have brought these leaders here to share with them right skills on how to take good care of people living with HIV, and also considering various opportunities available in the district councils," he added.

Mr Kayombo further said: "The fight against HIV/AIDS started many years ago, but we fail to meet the targets due to several challenges including discrimination based in gender, age, health situations and employment."

However, according to Judith Luande, TACAIDS Gender Issues Coordinator, discrimination is one of the main causes of depression to people living with HIV /AIDS, hence called upon members of the society to support the fight.

She said that through several programmes, the government has enabled a number of people living with HIV/AIDS to have access to health services as well engage in various economic activities.

Data from TACAIDS shows that the national HIV prevalence among adolescents and adults aged 15-49 years decreased slightly from 5.1 to 4.8 percent in two years ago, but prevalence among women is higher compared to men that is 6.2 percent versus 3.7 percent.

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