HIV & Related Stigma
Combat HIV/AIDS and its related stigma Ascoa is fully committed to supporting the health services through our program of combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and its related stigma. Over 20 million persons have died of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa since the early 1980s, most of them adults under age thirty-five. Three quarter of the persons estimated to be living with the disease worldwide are located in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a reflection of global health research priorities that the question of why HIV prevalence rates in Africa are so high compared to other parts of the world remains to a great degree a matter of speculation.
Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic is distinctive in that more than half of the persons living with the disease are women and girls, a higher proportion than in any other region. This aspect of the epidemic in Africa, as much as the ove
Although it is difficult to quantify clinically, there is strong evidence that women and girls are physiologically more vulnerable than men and boys to HIV infection through heterosexual sex. This has created a high prevalence of HIV in women than in men. We conduct sensitization campaigns on HIV/AIDS and its related stigma and educate the local community on its prevention and treatment.
We also conduct stigma-free campaigns, workshops, and seminars to help to reverse the upward trend of stigma as a contributing factor of HIV/AIDS. Through seminars, workshops and mass sensitization campaigns, we educate the community on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and the eradication of HIV/AIDS related stigma.
Following an assessment report conducted by ASCOA on HIV related stigma, we realised pragmatic responses to HIV and AIDS are tremendously affected by denial, fear, stigma, discrimination, and rejection of people living or suspected to be living with HIV and AIDS. As such, we aim to increase the awareness of stigma as a major barrier to the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and a violation of human rights, thus promoting the achievement of the new, final and ambitious 90-90-90 target of the UNAIDS. Some Projects Conducted to eradicate HIV/AIDS related StigmaJune 2015: Organized and coordinated community-based knowledge sharing activities on HIV/AIDS and its related stigma and behavioural change in 14 villages in the South West Region of Cameroon. We sensitized them on the importance of knowing their HIV status and about 300 people got tested of HIV/AIDS. Flyers and free condoms were shared.
October 2015: In an effort to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and its related stigma, ASCOA organized a five-day capacity building training with 42 barbers in Buea on 'Quality and Health in Hair Styling' so as to avoid transmission of HIV/AIDS. In this community, barbers use the same shaving tools on their customers and are ignorant of the risk of transmitting HIV/AIDS. They were sensitized on how to sterilise their shaving equipment, how to keep them clean and how to store them. They were also tested and provided with condoms.
February 2016: During the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope 2016, ASCOA organised a massive campaign on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment as well as measures to reduce stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS. We also conducted a qualitative research on 1,013 participants on stigma assessment index amongst people living with HIV/AIDS and produced a report.
Impact of Stigmatization
The issue of stigmatization has caused many HIV/AIDS patients to be rejected and traumatized. Some have been made to see life not worth to live and as such, they take away their lives. Some have been sent packing off their jobs, while some communities turn to look at them as worthless and outcasts. In the schools/ university systems some authorities reject pupils with HIV and even go further, to look down on children born by HIV/AIDS-infected parents who are not even able to meet up with their school needs or requirements. Orphans of diseased HIV/AIDS parents are deposited in villages where their parent died and in such circumstances, these grandparents are forced to caterer for them their own way. Some of the grand children who live with the grandparent are even HIV positive.
They also are victims of stigma. Let us stop stigma and together, we can save more lives.