Stop Discrimination against Children Living with HIV
January 29, 2014
An HIV free generation is a dream shared by all Zambians because if you are not infected then you are affected. The impact of HIV/AIDS is seen most dramatically in the rising number of children and adolescents orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Children living with HIV nowadays are faced with a huge challenge of discrimination, also in school. This lowers their self-esteem hence affecting their development because they feel stigmatized, discriminated, segregated and are not treated as normal human beings.
It is safe to say that the main cause of discrimination against children living with HIV is ignorance and lack of sensitisation in society. Those who stigmatize children living with HIV falsely believe that the virus is highly contagious. Others start to view HIV positive children as a threat. It is sad to hear that people's minds have been perpetuated with the belief that one can only get HIV through sexual intercourse. They forget the fact that most children nowadays are infected through mother to child transmission.
Josephine Mukandawire is the National Coordinator for Young Women in Action, an organisation aimed at empowering young women in entrepreneurship skills. In an interview she said that in particular girls living with HIV are most vulnerable and the most disadvantaged when it comes to discrimination. This can put the nation's economy at risk because women play a major role in the development of a nation.
Furthermore, the Millennium Development Goal number 6 is to halt HIV by 2015. But a dream is nothing without an action, so everyone has a role to play. HIV is real. This invisible killer is hard to detect and destroys by leaving its victims open to all kinds of diseases. While positive thinking and living is vital, the regular taking of medication is even more important for survival. In order to live a happy and healthy life, one needs to have a positive mind, no matter how tough life may be, one should believe in itself even when HIV positive. One of the principals of child rights is non discrimination. Every child should enjoy the same rights, no matter its HIV status.
By: Perrykent Nkole (16 years)
The author of this article is a pupil at Lusaka Secondary School and a member of the Children's News Agency, Lusaka Bureau
This article has been published in the 4th edition of the STOP AIDS NOW! Children and AIDS e-news