Deutsche Presse-Agentur (12.07.11) - Wednesday, December 07,
Stigma and discrimination remain problems for people with
HIV/AIDS in Africa, experts and advocates said during the 16th
International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA),
which runs through Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"In Africa, many of those affected start taking
antiretrovirals far too late, and this is largely because of
the widespread stigma," said Nils Grede, an AIDS expert with
the UN World Food Program. "People just don't want to know
that they are sick, because they are frightened of the
reaction of their family and friends."
Ahead of ICASA, groups representing LGBTs ran into strong
opposition from religious leaders in the conference's
Christian host-country, and scarcely a hotel in the city was
prepared to host LGBT meetings. Homosexual relations are
banned in most of the region, and where legal they are
associated with HIV/AIDS, even though the epidemic in Africa
is primarily heterosexual. Lack of awareness about the risks
of unprotected sex is widespread, especially in rural areas.
HIV/AIDS support groups in Africa are increasingly being
formed. Outside Nairobi, Kenya, in Kibera - one of Africa's
largest slums - the Power Woman Group helps women with HIV.
About 20 women and 72 children in the group make items such as
handbags, T-shirts, and sandals, which they sell in order to
buy food and accumulate savings. The US Agency for
International Development-funded Urban Garden project in
Ethiopia also helps women and children grow fruit and
vegetables, promoting nutrition and a steady income.