Home Based Care (HBC) givers, especially those who are HIV negative, are reportedly leading the pack in stigmatising people living with HIV.
This emerged at the end of a two-day HIV workshop organised by the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (Safaids) in Bulawayo this week.
The workshop was attended by people living with HIV who gave their testimonies on how they were living positively with HIV.
Margaret Ngwenya, who has been living positively with HIV for the past 21 years, revealed that HBC givers were some of the biggest culprits of stigmisation.
“I have been living with HIV for the past 21 years and from experience, I know that some of the groups that stigmatise us are HBCs,” she said.
“These are supposed to be people who monitor and take care of people living with HIV, but they are part of the people who are actually worsening the issue of stigmatization.”
Ngwenya said as a result, most people who were living with HIV preferred HBC givers who were also HIV positive because they understood their condition.
“Home based care givers who are also living positively are better preferred to take care of people living with HIV because they understand what one is going through and they will not stigmatise another person living positively,” she said.
Ngwenya said people living with HIV needed care givers who understood what they were going through.
Speaking at the same forum, the Bulawayo coordinator for HIV and TB, Thoko Hove said there were more that 4 000 TB cases recorded in Bulawayo in 2009.
“In 2009, we recorded 4 192 TB cases in Bulawayo, compared to 3 670 in 2008,” she said.
“One of the reasons for the increase was that in 2008, most people migrated to neighbouring countries during the economic crisis and then returned last year infected or re-infected with HIV.”
TB has become the number one opportunistic infection.