Mpumalanga – A young woman says HIV will not claim her life. Khosi Zitha said before she accepted her HIV status she battled with denial and anger. The 24-year-old told Health-e News that she could not cope because three of her siblings, who had been HIV-positive, had died.
When Ndlela Howard Dhlamini disclosed his HIV-positive status more than a decade ago, ignorance about HIV led his local tavern to refuse to reuse the glass he drank from. This kind of HIV stigma may be a memory for Dhlamini but not for everyone living with the virus.
More than three decades into South Africa’s HIV epidemic, HIV knowledge in the country is dropping and falling levels of HIV savvy may have real consequences for those living with HIV.
South Africa’s first national HIV stigma index has found that seven percent of HIV-positive women surveyed reported being sterilised against their will and about 40 percent reported contraception was a pre-requisite of accessing antiretrovirals (ARVs).