Friday, November 5, 2010

Stigma: HIV/AIDS (4.11.10)

So some of my senior staff and myself have been in training for the past two weeks. It is a three-week training put on by the Ugandan Ministry of Health. We are being trained to be trainers of trainers for HIV/AIDS testing and counseling. It is a very interesting course, but it has definitely made my days very long right from the start.

Today we did an exercise about HIV/AIDS myths in the local community that plays into stigma. These are not things thought by my Youth Center Staff at MUWRP, but things they and I hear in the community regarding HIV/AIDS. Some are similar to things I have heard in America and some are not. I thought you all would be interested to see the list as much as I was. There are many more I am sure, but this is what we came up with in the exercise:
• Sharing clothes with an infected person
• Sharing beds with an infected person
• Sharing cups and silverware with an infected person
• Getting a mosquito bite
• Having bad manners or morals
• Receiving a blood transfusion
• All testers and counselors are HIV/AIDS positive
• Inherited through genetics
• Cured by divine intervention
• Through coughing
• Sharing basins for bathing with an infected person
• Sharing drinks with an infected person
• Sharing the same house with an infected person
• Brought by the whites to Africa
• Some people are immune
• Some people are cursed by a witch
• Everyone with TB also has HIV/AIDS
• Receiving organ transplants
• HIV/AIDS is found in all bodily fluids at an infectious level
• Everyone in Africa has HIV/AIDS
• Shaking hands with an infected person
• The testing kits do not work because they aren’t a big machine
• There is no discordance in Uganda
• Taking Coca-Cola and aspirin will give a person a negative test result
• Douching with Coca-Cola after sex will kill the HIV
• Eating pork will cure HIV/AIDS
• HIV is treatable and AIDS can be cured
• Witchcraft made HIV

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