She thinks that it is a mistake to believe that living with HIV is comparable to having chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, since it comes with "a great deal of unnecessary baggage." It is still taboo in many households, and many persons living with HIV face ridicule. She cautions that the battle against HIV/AIDS will not be won by 2030 unless we give a deadly blow to stigma.
On World Aids Day, Eusebius McKaiser is joined by Nwokedi for this episode of Eusebius on TimesLIVE. Nwokedi argues, as did former Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron in his biography Witness to AIDS, that conservative and unhealthy views around sex are what fuel stigma.
Sexual intercourse is the major means of HIV transmission, but it is not the only one, and when someone exposes their HIV status, assumptions about promiscuity, risky sexual choices, and immorality are often made. Nwokedi implores us to address these stigma drivers if we are to win the battle on HIV/AIDS.
The conversation concludes with a discussion of the state's role. One in every five of the world's 37,7 million HIV-positive persons lives in South Africa. No less than 240,000 new HIV infections occurred in this nation last year. According to Nwokedi, inadequate funding for community-based and civil society organizations makes reversing these figures difficult.
She calls to the state to guarantee that appropriate resources are provided to fight these fights and to strengthen relationships with organizations that often operate alone or with minimal support to ensure inequitable access to treatment and other psychological supports ceases.
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