AIDS Rights Congo: Documenting Stigma And Discrimination Of HIV/AIDS Infected People

Sigh reads – Approach those with AIDA . They are in need of our help. Image by Flickr user Robert Guerra. CC BY-NC-SA

There were 240,000 people living with HIV in Central Africa in 2005 according to UNAIDS estimate. Blandine Louzolo and Sylvie Niombo of the Rising Voices grantee Azur Development describes (translated from French by Patricia Santiago):

HIV-positive women are stigmatized, and discriminated against, because of their serological status. The stigmatization begins at home, and is often conveyed through piercing words and hurtful glances.

On the other hand women who are HIV positive often become victims of blackmail from their husband’s families.

With the help of a Micro-grant awarded by Rising Voices, AZUR Development organization trained communication officers of different AIDS organizations in Congo in digital story telling, podcasting, and the creation of blogs. The goal was that these participants would document the stigma and discrimination of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in Congo and use them as an advocacy tools.

The bloggers of the AIDS Right Congo are continuing with their efforts which is evident from their recent blog posts. Jean Thibaut Ngoyi reports (translated from French to English by Lauren Messina) that Congo does not have a law on protection and cares for those infected with HIV/AIDS. The blogger highlights the situation in Congo:

In the northern part of Congo, specifically Makoua (more than 600 km from Brazzaville), on-site management of HIV is done at the hospital and the Malieré center. The biological examinations aren’t done there, patients are referred to Owando. In this locality, there doesn’t exist any organisation fighting against Aids. Therefore, community measures for prevention and care are nonexistent.

Jean Thibaut Ngoyi also wrote earlier:

People living with HIV/AIDS in the Congo continue to live with stigma and discrimination at their work places and within the hospitals of the Congo. Recently, AZUR Development, an NGO based in the Congo, with the support of the National Foundation for Democracy (NED), recognized this reality and organized meetings and workshops throughout the country on the rights and duties of people with HIV/AIDS.

Marien Nzikou-Massala argues (Translated from French to English by Patricia Santiago) that conversations are needed to improve the defense of people living with HIV. The blogger informs about the works of right based organizations in this regard:

The member associations and NGOs within the AIDS Africa Network (Réseau Sida Afrique) conducted missions for international exchanges in Benin, in Congo, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), between December 2009, April, and June 2010. [..]

The activities conducted in these missions included support groups to bring awareness of the law, meetings with healthcare workers, evaluations concerning the accessibility of treatments and information for people infected with HIV, and sharing on good practices. These activities were hosted in Congo by AZUR Development, and in Benin, by The Beninese Development Association (ABD).

Marien Nzikou-Massala informs that NGOs in DRC are working to reduce the stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS in hospital and work environments.

Sylvie Niombo transcribes an interview of Simon Moubolo, HIV/AIDS project Assistant at AZUR Development in Brazzaville and Régine Goma, Co-ordinator of the Regional Bureau for Information and Prevention of AIDS (ARIPS). The interview was taken by AIDS African Network. Simon and Regine tells how “Congolese AIDS activists share their experiences with their peers in an initiative to promote human rights”.

The Azur Weblog “Congolese Women On The Web” describes [fr] how the Congolese women are speaking out on the web against sexual harassment.

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