HIV AIDS Education  

- Continued

It is equally important for HIV positive people to receive HIV / AIDS education to provide help and support for them, and to enable them to understand and to cope with the knowledge that they are infected with HIV.  Education for HIV positive people should also help to prevent the onward transmission of HIV.

 

When receiving a HIV positive test result, many people feel that they have been given a death sentence.  HIV / AIDS education and counselling for HIV positive people has several main goals:
To help people to cope with the trauma of a HIV positive test result.
To inform HIV positive people about the nature of HIV and AIDS.
To help them to confront any discrimination they may face as a result of being infected with HIV.
To enable them to lead full and healthy lives.
To enable them, should they wish to, to have an active sexual life without passing the infection on to anyone else.
To ensure that the infection isn't passed on by any other means - the sharing of injecting equipment, for example.

 

From the time that HIV and AIDS were identified, social responses of fear, denial, stigma and discrimination accompanied the epidemic.  In many societies people living with HIV and AIDS are often seen as shameful.  Infection is also often associated with minority groups or behaviours, for example, homosexuality.

 

Although the global epidemic of HIV/AIDS has shown itself capable of triggering responses of compassion, solidarity and support, bringing out the best in people, their families and communities, it can also associated with stigma, repression and discrimination, as individuals affected (or believed to be affected) by HIV have been rejected by their families, their loved ones and their communities.

 

Stigma is a powerful tool of social control.  Stigma can be used to marginalize, exclude and exercise power over individuals who show certain characteristics.  While the societal rejection of certain social groups (e.g. 'homosexuals, injecting drug users, sex workers') may predate HIV/AIDS, the disease has, in many cases, reinforced this stigma.  By blaming certain individuals or groups, society can excuse itself from the responsibility of caring for and looking after such populations.

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