Stigma, discrimination and difficulty in reaching health clinics has led over half of HIV cases in Liberia to go untreated, says a report, which describes the situation as “alarming.”
It is based upon this that a female advocate, Madam Josephine Godoe is calling on infected persons to be bold in breaking silence to advocate for more medicines.
She spoke recently during climax of a weeklong global AIDS week (GAWA 2020) an international candle light memorial by LibNet and partners in Monrovia.
The celebration, which took place at PSI head office in Sinkor, Monrovia was held under the theme “We remember, we take action, we live beyond HIV.”
While lighting the candle in remembrance of those who lost their lives due to stigmatization and discrimination, she expressed sorrows for the losses and promised to advocate against stigmatization and discrimination in breaking the silence for people living with the virus “We want to use this day to remember those who have lost their lives from this virus. Due to our losses we have trained people to respond through a multi-sector approach with emphasis in strategic involvement of being bold in breaking the silence, and advocating against stigmatization and for more treatment”, Madam Godoe said.
JojoBaysah, a 46-year-old man who has been infected since 2005, encouraged people living with the virus to accept that they have the virus and should find pleasure in taking their pills, noting that HIV is not the respecter of person, as it affects all sectors.
Jojo is a survivor, while 12 persons, who were diagnosed with the virus, died due to refusal to accept the result. He said it was difficult at the time to get the drug, and those 12 patients died out of denial, refusal to accept and stigmatization.
A lady, Tina Jackson, who is also infected with the virus since 2000, wants Liberians to not take the virus likely. She cautions that whenever a doctor diagnoses, one should accept the result and take the treatment as quick as possible.
She says denial and refusal to take HIV drugs has a potential to undermine social and economic development of any nation.
–Editing by Jonathan Browne