World Aids Day: Kano HIV/AIDS patients lament stigmatization
People living with HIV/AIDS in Kano state have complained about stigmatization against them by other members of the public, saying discrimination remains their biggest challenge.
This was revealed by Nuhu Tela Gaya, the Kano state Coordinator of Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in a news conference organized by Community Support and Development Initiative (CSADI) to commemorate the 2019 World Aids Day.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared December 1st of every year as global World AIDS Day to fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Addressing journalists on Sunday Mr Gaya said many HIV positive persons are still scared of disclosing their status due to stigmatization, which he said is contributing to the spread of the virus.
He noted that although the anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) are free, the inability of patients to afford the expensive tests for CD4 count, is exposing HIV patients to infections such as tuberculosis, cough and diarrhea.
According to him, apart from the CD4 count tests, HIV patients also need to regularly carryout PBC, liver and kidney tests, which he said are also expensive.
Mr Gaya however, thanked the Kano state government for providing HIV test kits in public hospitals.
Also the Executive Director of CSADI Hajiya Zainab Ahmad Sulaiman recalled that 20 years ago none among the HIV positive persons in Kano had the courage to reveal their status due to unbearable level of stigmatization.
“Now people are much aware that HIV is just like any other illness. One would prefer their children or their mothers to be HIV positive than diabetic or sicklers. Because HIV, if you are on treatment, eating well, life goes on, but with sicklers whatever you do, you still have problem,” she observed.
According to her, self stigma is preventing many people from seeking care, adhering to their drugs and socializing with others.