This month support group for young people had a clear purpose of addressing stigma related to HIV. As the focus of the organization for the year is to destigmatising HIV, the first meeting of the support for the year started with the session on the perceptions of stigma and ways in overcoming stigma.
The discussion became emotional when the group shared their experiences of facing stigma. The sharing revealed how the young people were greatly affected by the discriminatory attitude towards them.
As the group felt that addressing self stigma is much easier than sensitizing the community, the members evolved the following points as progressive steps for overcoming fear;
- Have complete information about HIV and AIDS and clarify any kind of myths and misconceptions
- Visiting or accessing places where one receives motivation and positive encouragement.
- Identify a trust worthy mentor who will guide and encourage
- Sharing right information about HIV and AIDS to people in the neighborhood and school
- Will first attempt disclosure of one’s HIV status with a person who is already stigmatised or discriminated
- Sharing one’s HIV status with a trusted individual
Each member in the group have taken up the level they are comfortable and will develop plan for execution and share their experiences, next month.
At the end, almost the entire group felt it was necessary to address self stigma and three of them have expressed that they are taking up the challenge of sharing their HIV status to their friends and one to their relative which they have been thinking for a long time.