MORE FEMALES GET TESTED FOR HIV
bout 270 816 females tested for HIV in 2016 compared to 148 131 males. SNAP Manager Muhle Dlamini said HIV testing is essential for expanding treatment and ensuring that people living with HIV lead healthy and productive lives.
Dlamini was speaking during the double celebration of the United Nations (UN) commemoration of World AIDS Day and farewell function for Israel Dessalegne on Thursday. The celebration was held at the UN offices in Mbabane.
He said there were 418 947 Emaswati who tested for HIV and 27 486 tested positive.
“It is essential to know your status. It is also crucial to achieve the national targets of being a developed state. It empowers people to make choices about HIV prevention so they protect themselves and their loved ones,” Dlamini said.
However, Dlamini said quite a number
Aof Emaswati still struggle to fit back to the society after knowing their HIV status.
“Most HIV positive Emaswati stigmatise and judge themselves before the society. Many people have fears, prejudices or negative attitudes about HIV. Stigma can result in people living with HIV being insulted, rejected, gossiped about and excluded from social activities. At its extreme, stigma can drive people to physical violence,” he said.
“Some people when they hear that someone is HIV positive - especially us Africans – they’ll be seeing someone who’s dying, someone who is not supposed to touch anyone.”
He added that people living with HIV often feel nervous about telling others that they have HIV due to the fear of stigma or discrimination.
This can lead to isolation and feeling unsupported, which can have a negative - impact on health and wellbeing.
PLEASANTRIES: Outgoing UN Resident Coordinator Israel Dessalegne and World Bank's Edit Velenyi sharing alight moment.
IN NUMBERS: Dessalegne posing with some of the invited guests.