5 Lessons From Africa About Fighting AIDS
The continent hasn't done everything right, but America should take note of these strategies.
"When you are dealing with human beings, you have to be strict," says Shakumbila, who governs 486 villages. "These men don't want to be punished, so they take their wives to the hospital. This has helped very much against HIV/AIDS."
This is a creative solution that respects the way of life of a community while pushing it toward an effective, 21st-century method to reduce HIV transmission.
Fight HIV, Not People With HIV
In our country, HIV/AIDS stigma is most intense in small towns, particularly in the South. Growing numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS in places like rural Mississippi and Alabama hide their status, terrified of being ostracized. In Zambia, while stigma exists, those in the field say that rural areas approach HIV with less judgment than compassion.
"Everyone knows someone with the disease in these rural villages, so there's less shame," says Yoram Siame, advocacy and public relations manager for CHAZ. "And there's also a sense of community-ness, of caring for each other in rural areas."
Angela Maseka, a no-nonsense nurse-midwife at the Maramba Clinic in Livingstone, Zambia, treats and counsels HIV-positive women -- most of whom are pregnant -- who come from poor, sometimes remote areas where HIV/AIDS is widespread. "HIV is not an illness," says Maseka. "It is just a virus that affects some people. What's the shame?"
No one should argue with that.
Writer Linda Villarosa traveled to Zambia earlier this month with a delegation of journalists sponsored by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Images of the Fight Against AIDS in Africa
A writer snapped these photos depicting the daily battle against the disease in Ethiopia and Zambia.