Half of HIV positive people face discrimination

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Speaking at the World AIDS Day HIV self-testing awareness event, 4Youth By Youth Principal investigator, Dr. Juliet Iwelunmor said, "Our goal is to drive the increased participation of young Nigerians in the fight against HIV/AIDS through generating demand and adoption of self-testing".

"As we mark World AIDS Day we should challenge the stereotypes that hold back the HIV prevention effort".

With an HIV prevalence of 0.26 % in its adult population, India has an estimated 2.1 million people living with HIV, according to a 2017 government report.

"The sad truth is that many people do not get tested for HIV because of the stigma that surrounds it. The government must now act to prevent this from happening again".

He urged HIV patients to disregard myths of the infection being a death sentence as "HIV/AIDS can be managed like any other disease and the patients made to live normal lives".

"HIV conjures images of gravestones and a life marked by tragedy", he added.

"I hope that my coming out serves to defy the stigma around the disease".

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The TCE programme has been aligned with the UNAIDS 90-90-90 strategy which seeks to achieve that 90% of all people living with HIV should know their status; 90% of all those who are diagnosed HIV positive to be on sustained antiretroviral treatment (ART); 90% of those on ART having an undetectable viral load.

"[I hope] that my story might encourage others to get tested and ultimately begin their treatment earlier on".

Knowing your HIV status also enables people to make informed decisions about HIV prevention options, including services to prevent children from becoming infected with HIV, male and female condoms, harm reduction services for people who inject drugs, voluntary medical male circumcision and pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis.

Away from the Commons chamber, Mr Russell-Moyle explained he had a "duty" as an MP to speak out and could not "keep quiet anymore" about an issue which affects him "so personally".

"I finally wanted to be able to stand in this place and tell all those out there living with HIV, that their status does not define them", he said.

A British MP has become the first sitting member to disclose he is HIV positive to the United Kingdom parliament.

One of those was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who praised Mr Russell-Moyle for making a "brilliant and historic speech".

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