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Lugna Masuku, Times of Swaziland: HIV positive people fear having children

HIV positive people fear having children
by Lugna Masuku, August 13. 2011

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, SWANNEPHA Director Thembi Nkambule (L), MISA Director Comfort Mabuza and SBIS Director Percy Simelane.

MBABANE – Almost half of the people living with HIV/AIDS habour fears of bearing children, according to the Stigma Index Report realesed yesterday at a function held at the Mountain Inn.

The report states that 45.3 per cent of respondents stated that they were afraid of having children because of their HIV status.

This is despite that scientists have come up with interventions that can protect unborn babies from contracting HIV/AIDS from their mothers.

Addressing the gathering, National Director, Thembi Nkambule said people with HIV/AIDS fear to bear children because they would not like to leave behind Orphaned and Vulnerable Children.

“Most of our members who are still sexually active find themselves deciding not to bear children fearing that they may infect their unborn babies. This was happening at a time when there were programmes meant at protecting children from getting infected by their mothers.

Such statistics indicate that we still have a long way to go. We need to inform our members that being HIV does not mean one will die the next day. With the proper usage of the interventions people can raise families but all that is needed is knowledge.

People need to get in touch with their health centres so that the fears can be overcomed. The study also tells us that there are about 22 per cent of people sampled who said they resolved not to have anymore.

About 17 per cent of the respondents resolved not to get married. A sum of 13.8 alluded to having isolated themselves from their familes and friends. Those who fear to attend social gatherings is around 8.8 per cent of the people sampled. There are also those who decided not to apply for a job or some even decide to stop working,” said Nkambule. She said the report highlghted other key areas that need the attention of HIV positive people. Nkambuke said the fears have also driven other people to go to the extent of even not applying for a job or for a promotion.

Nkambule said there were also those who decided to withdraw from institutions of higher learning or withdrew from training and these amounted to 4.1 per cent. Another 4.1 per cent avoided going to a local clinic when they needed to, and 2.1 per cent avoid going to a hospital.

HIV/AIDS activists complain about media

MBABANE – HIV/AIDS activists yesterday registered their concerns with the way the media was covering issues concerning HIV positive people.

Speaking during the launch of the country’s Stigma Index Report they said the media should help them reduce stigma-tisation in the country. Vice Chairman for SWANNEPHA Vusi Nxumalo said the media can play a leading role in reducing stigma in society.

“The media needs to report HIV/AIDS issues with care because there are times that their reportage can entranch stigmas in society. It sounds bad when a newspaper will attach a person’s status to a headline even if the story had nothing to do with the status of the person. In response to the media bashing, Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS) Director Percy Simelane said there were times that there are operational catostrophies which each media house attempts to correct. Simelane said there were times when media houses will have to choose a catchy headline or quote so that the readers or listeners can be interested in the story.

“As media houses we have guidelines and there are times where we have to run apologies if we captured an issue incorrectly. We also have a code of ethics which guides our work but there are times where we have to choose words that will get people on the move so that whatever problem was facing the people could be addressed.”

His words were echoed by Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Swaziland Chapter National Director Comfort Mabuza who said the media was in the process of introducing a self-regulatory mechanism that will guard against any violations of media laws and ethics.

 

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