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"I was born with HIV, and I am tired of keeping secrets" by Nurafiqah, Singapore

I was born with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and my medical condition is something that I kept to myself for most of my life. Things changed in early 2020 when my story came out on the UequalsU_Sg Instagram page as a person living with HIV. I was the 5th person and the only woman to be open about my HIV status in Singapore. I was tired of keeping secrets and being judged by people, so I decided to write in and share my story on UequalsU_Sg Instagram page. Since then

The Impacts of Narcissism on Mental Health by Loyiso Lindani South Africa

I looked up the meaning of narcissism on Google and it said “narcissism -noun excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one's physical appearance. Similar: Vanity, self-love, self-admiration, self-adulation, self-absorption, self-obsession, conceit, self-conceit, self-centredness, self-regard, egotism, egoism, egocentricity, egomania. PSYCHOLOGY: selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, as characterizing a personali

GENDER NORMS INFLUENCING YOUNG WOMEN’S ACCESS & UPTAKE OF HIV TREATMENT by Saidy Brown, South Africa

There is an effort that has been put in place, in making sure that women living with HIV live long, and healthy lives. However, women living with HIV experience the most stigma, discrimination and violence. Both domestically and in health care facilities. It is important that women tell their own stories, because we can’t say we fully understand anything they go through, if it is not from their own perspectives. In 2016, the World Health Organization recommended that peopl

U=U: THE UNDERUTILIZED EMPOWERMENT TOOL by Shyrene Mvula, Malawi

In Malawi, the U=U campaign was launched was officially launched at the 2018 PEPFAR Regional Planning Meeting (RPM), after four large studies conducted from 2007 to 2016 among thousands of sero-discordant couples did not show a single case of sexual HIV transmission from a virally suppressed partner[1]. This is a tool of empowerment to young people especially young women living with HIV because it can help in reducing HIV related stigma. The message of U=U can bring in socia

Let Us Fight for our Women and Young Girls by Treasure, eSwatini

The main drivers of the HIV epidemic are influenced by a wide range of gender inequalities. HIV positive women and adolescent girls face a number of issues and challenges that come with being HIV positive. These issues include gender-based violence, early and forced marriage, unequal access to information, including sexual health knowledge and a lack of negotiating power with their partners (which at the end of the day places women and adolescent girls at increased risk of HI

I AND THE SOCIETY by Hajarah Asiimwe, Uganda

Am sick, that's is what the society has rubbed in my face. It has always told me that am sick. Am not a loner, society pushed me to it. Whoever knew about my HIV status, Never would be the same to me. Now that am a loner, questions ring in their heads... "Why is she so quiet? " "Why is she always alone? " "Why does she talk to no one?" Yes, am this and that, Because you taught me to. When I disclose about me, you'll gossip behind my back. You'll run to everyone telling them h

A CHANGE IS NOW by Chanda Mwango, Zambia

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre There is a clearly seen unfair playing field when it comes to women in general and speaking up for ourselves. There are so many injustices that young adolescent girls and women are facing as individuals living with HIV that cannot go unheard or played off as nothing serious any longer. Due to certain variables such as unequal social status, cultural status

The Story of the Violation of My Rights by Mariia Vlasova, Ukraine

I want to share with you a story that happened to me 2 years ago. This story is my personal experience of discrimination and my encounter with ignorance. I want this story to be my flame, as in the song "Lumen - Burn" ("Lights to Lights"), these words call to highlight problems, even when it seems that no one cares. (See the original in Russian below) My story (finally) I finished 9th grade with not the best grades, probably I had a kind of transition period, as I didn't wa

Community Advocacy: Innovation & Mobilization #HIV2020 by Sharifah Nalugo, Uganda

Regional partners in the struggle to eliminate HIV by 2030 jointly organized an e-conference as part of HIV2020 on 1st September, 2020 that brought together key global HIV activists in a powerful discussion on Communities reclaiming Global HIV Responses. This conversation came timely most importantly as 2020 marked the beginning of a decade of action for acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goals. It also significantly served as a firm ground for young people’s meaning

MY BODY IS NOT A DEMOCRACY by Ester Kabasambo, Uganda

My body is not a democracy and therefore you should not vote for what happens in my body or what my body should do. I am the landlord and caretaker of my body so I know what is right for my body. You are free to say what you think is good for my body but keep those opinions to yourself don’t make for me a decision, you were not their when I was building it up. I have rights over my body autonomy and integrity. This gives me fully ownership of my body and therefore I have a ri

Empowering girls and young women to end HIV by Ester Kabasambo, Uganda

Many young girl's dream to grow up and get a family. But when it comes to girls and young women who are living with HIV it's a different case. We are always scared that they won't find someone to love them because of their HIV status. We are living in communities which judge a lot, rather than supporting. When people look at girls and young women living with HIV they immediately think they got HIV from fornication. Even if this is true (because young women do have sex and thi

Save me by Asiimwe Hajarah, Uganda

Why does my voice echo in pain? Why do you let me be there? Why rip my heart with scarred thoughts? I bleed... Red blood. I feel through my skin down to the deepest nerve I am a best friend, a sister, a mother. I am human for crying out loud. And you let me fall down to your ruthless acts. I can hear you... So well. I don't need to be awakened by a hot slap. I don't need to punched right in front of the innocent generation because you wouldn’t want your daughter to be treated

My AIDS 2020 Virtual conference Musings and Reflections by Laura Thoa, Kenya

The year, 2020 began with so much of hope. A dawn of a new year, ‘new me’ kind of vibe. Travel plans, conference aspirations. I knew that this year I would grace the AIDS 2020 conference in San Francisco and Oakland, and would be my first time ever in the US. Of course, seven months down the line this was not the case due to a global pandemic – COVID-19 which was also inspired the birth of AIDS 2020 Virtual. Personally, the journey within this year has been a huge bout of sel

Learning to Live and Cope with HIV by Treasure, Eswatini

Learning that you are HIV-positive can be one of the most difficult experiences you can go through in life. You may feel scared, sad or even angry. But it is okay, and a completely natural part of coping with something that can be life changing. However, HIV doesn’t have to stop you from living a long, happy and fulfilling life. With the right treatment and support, it is possible to live as long as the average person – sometimes longer. There are a lot of misconceptions abou

Impact of COVID 19 on Young People Living with HIV in Malawi by Shyrene Mvula, Malawi

Young people living with HIV are at higher risk of some mental health conditions like depression and anxiety which are as a result of suspension of HIV differentiated service delivery (DSD) such as teen clubs. Access to antiretroviral treatment (ART) during the COVID-19 pandemic is quite challenging for those living far from ART clinics. In Malawi, and other places there has been a huge rise in transportation costs hence rise in number of not taking treatment per specific per

Embracing your HIV status through the Arts by Chanda Mwango, Zambia

“No matter how much falls on us, we keep ploughing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear” – Greg Kincaid I can understand how living with HIV/AIDS can be scary or frustrating among other things, especially the stigma and discrimination that comes with it. I know that we try to look for ways to express our feelings in a safe space without facing any judgment. It kind of seems like we are more or less looking for our own Gardens of Eden. I always looked at art as a