Saturday, July 14, 2007
Breaking the Stigma of HIV/AIDS
I'm so proud of the Tanzanian president, Mr. Kikwete, and his wife who were publicly tested for HIV/AIDS today in Dar es Salaam. Many other leaders joined them in this effort to break the stigma against the disease and launch a new initiative that helps members of the public gather their courage and get tested.
There are terrible biases against those with AIDS and people who struggle against it are often left to struggle alone. Our summer team delivered food to shut-in AIDS patients this week and heard first-hand the stories of how they are shunned by their communities. This new campaign hopes to raise public awareness and break the holds of fear and shame that keep people from a) being tested and b) caring for those who already have it.
The shame based fear that terrorizes the continent has led to many battles being lost in the huge war against this ferocious disease. Where many leaders have gone into major denial from the beginning, (and shockingly even up to today) President Kikwete raises the standard and encourages the nation to face this head on, together.
I love when there is good news in Africa!