By Meclina Chirwa
The National Association of Young People Living with HIV—Y Plus has implored duty bearers to explore new ways of dealing with stigma and discrimination towards young people living with HIV.
Project Lead for the Ready Plus Project being implemented by Y Plus with support from Global Network of Young People Living with HIV, Lusungu Harawa, said the project intends to engage duty bearers to discuss possible ways of addressing challenges that young people living with HIV are facing in the country.
According to Harawa, the project intends to empower and train young people to speak out for themselves and stop living in denial.
HIV and AIDS is a serious global infection and chronic condition with no cure currently available. Since 1985 when the first case was identified in Malawi, considerable effort has gone into HIV and AIDS response including prevention and treatment.
However, there is significant stigma associated with being HIV positive in Malawi. Stigma is an attribute that deeply discredits and results in the reduction of a person or group while discrimination involves treating someone in different, unjust or unfair ways.
This has forced some young people to refuse to get tested while those who are found HIV positive even go to the extent of taking their lives and ignoring Anti-Retroviral Therapy.
To address some of these challenges, the National Association of Young People Living with HIV is implementing a project called READY Plus with support from the global network of young people living with HIV.
Harawa said adolescents living with HIV are facing a lot of challenges in the society hence the project intends to engage duty bearers to help in addressing the problems.
It is argued that HIV prevention cannot be successful without addressing issues of stigma and discrimination.