Xinhua News Service (09.04.12)
Aids Weekly Plus
Families are often the chief source of discrimination experienced by HIV-positive Kenyans, a new UN-financed report indicates.
At a press conference in Nairobi on Tuesday, lead researcher Allan Maleche said the report found that 79 percent of HIV-positive people were discriminated against by their own families, while 34 percent reported discrimination at work and 19 percent experienced it in health care settings. “Family-level rejection was the most common form of discrimination on HIV-positive individuals, leading to loss of right to property, education, and food,” he said.
Maleche, who is executive director of the Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV, said the study was conducted by a group of civil society organizations with the goal of assessing levels of discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS, as well as patients’ knowledge of their rights. “The report will assist Kenya to achieve the UN goal of zero new infections and discrimination,” said Ludfine Anyango, HIV/AIDS program analyst at the UN Development Program.
Maleche said HIV-positive females in serodiscordant relationships face the biggest discrimination challenges. “Our study indicated that they would be sent home and left with the burden of raising the children single-handedly,” he said. In addition, the study comes amid media reports suggesting the practice of forced sterilization among HIV-positive mothers is common in Kenya.
Dorothy Oyango, CEO of Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya, noted that those with HIV experience more violence than the general public. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed has experienced some form of violence. “The main form of violence was psychological, especially through intimidation,” she said.