Campaign to address stigmatization of HIV Status launched

The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) yesterday launched a national campaign to address social perceptions that continues to fuel stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.

Themed ‘I Can’t Change My HIV Status But You Can Change Your Attitude’. The campaign aims to engage South Africans in a sustained dialogue on stigma and discrimination starting on World AIDS Day and for the rest of the year.

The communication campaign being launched under the them of “I can’t change my HIV status but you can change your attitude aims to mobilise South Africans to engage in dialogue and debate on social attitudes towards people living with HIV, while encouraging greater openness and disclosure by people living with HIV about their status.

The campaign is built around a series of short films in which people living with HIV’s share their own personal experiences. These stories are not of despair and hopelessness but rather of courage and hope, and tell how key people in their lives helped them to overcome challenges.

View the 2014 World Aids Day Campaign Toolkit and Guiding Messages Booklet

Stories and experiences of HIV stigma and discrimination

We would like to share a selection of powerful and touching stories of people living with HIV.  A group of HIV positive people have told their stories and experiences of stigma and discrimination. It is not stories of desperateness and hopelessness, but stories of courage and hope, and how important people in their lives have assisted them to overcome challenges.  These stories have been captured on video and stills photography. The stories are available for civil society, private sector, media and other sectors to use in their World AIDS Day campaigns. Cindy Pivacic, 56. Her partner infected her whilst he was aware of his HIV status. “It took me six years to actually go public about my status.  Rejection, that I think is probably the greatest fear that you are going to be rejected, however, after the six years I decided well you know what, if people don’t want to be around me well, I don’t need them.  ” grey line3 Koketso Mokhetoa, 23 years. She was born HIV positive and doctors told she would not make it past 13 years of age and she would not have any children.  Today she is 23 and a mother to a healthy HIV-negative baby. “I met a guy by the name of Tyrone and I told him about  being HIV positive, he didn’t really take it well, honestly speaking he didn’t ,  so we both did a couple’s test, and he still couldn’t believe it, but then the support groups helped him a lot… helped us a lot” grey line3 Mmabatho Ranake, 27. Mmabatho is engaged to an HIV-man and she lives openly with HIV. “A lot of people are living with HIV and they experience stigma because they stigmatise themselves.  When you wake up in the morning and you walk in the street whatever that you want people to see it’s what you have to feel” grey line3 Mongezi Sosibo, 23 years, student, loves writing.  Upon discovering his status, he accused one of his girlfriends of infecting him. “I stigmatised people living with HIV, until I became HIV positive” grey line3 Nomasomi Limako, 40. She is disabled and contracted HIV from someone that believed that he would be cured from HIV if he sleeps with a person with a disability. grey line3 Phindile Madonsela, 43. She is an HIV+ sangoma.  She disclosed to her daughter when she was 7 and then again at the age of 14. “My mother experienced stigma in the community after she disclosed, but she is strong” grey line3  Simphiwe Dlamini, 31, Disclosed to her father who was, and still is, extremely supportive. grey line3 Yvette Raphael, 39, She disclosed for the first time at her workplace in front of 80 people. “A friend close to me did not want to share a glass with me, but I never experienced stigma from my mother or sister”