Activists call for tougher action against Aids stigma

Activists have called on government leaders to put in place stern measures to discipline people who discriminate against HIV/Aids victims.

Activists have called on government leaders to put in place stern measures to discipline people who discriminate against HIV/Aids victims.

Meeting at La Palisse Hotel in Nyandungu on Thursday, members of the HIV/Aids Non Government Organisations (NGOs) Forum urged that people infected should be given the chance to break the silence on the scourge freely.

It is necessary to support Aids campaigns and groups representing people living with HIV, they said.

They further urged decision makers to speak out against stigmatisation. Religious leaders should do a lot more in the same regard, they added.

“We are here to sound out our concern. Many HIV/Aids victims face serious stigma and discrimination by the society which should have extended a hand of compassion and help,” Dr Kekoura Kourouma, coordinator of the joint UN programme on HIV/Aids (Unaids), said.

Unaids advocates accelerated, comprehensive and coordinated global action on HIV scourge.

Kourouma said the two-day workshop was aimed at capacity building of NGOs, working under the Rwanda NGO Forum, in order to combat stigma and discrimination of those infected and affected of HIV/Aids.

“They can use the tools which are already in the country, like the legal laws to monitor the facts related to stigma and discriminations,” he said.

Aimable Mwananawe, the chairman of Rwanda NGOs Forum on HIV/Aids, remarked that to combat stigma, leaders at all levels should create awareness and sensitisation. He said that disseminating information among the populace is the best tool.
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