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Miss HIV

  1. 1. tshebetso is the 2008/9 queen a tribute to cynthia leshomo reginah lesole maria motse heartfelt hands over LOTS OF PICTURES & WORTHWHILE STORIES! NA CA Ntwa e Bolotse
  2. 2. ts is thebets CEYOHO Organizational Profile 4 que he 200o en 8/ 9 The Greatest Obstacles in accessing AIDS Programs 6 reg hea inah le rtfe sol lt e cyn a trib thia mar u leshte to omo 7 i Meet the Contestants NA Ntwa e Bo CA lotse han a mots ds o e ver Profiles of All the 2008 LOTS OF P ICTU Pageant Contestants RES & WO RTH WH ILE ST ORIE S! Pageant Background 8 The Event: Words Shared 11 Tribute to Cynthia Leshomo The 2005 Queen who left a great service legacy 12 Dikgosi As Partners In Fighting HIV/ AIDS Stigma 13 The Reigning Queen Tshebetso is Crowned 2008 Queen 15 18 The Other Voice: A South African Perspective of Stigmatization- Just a Virus, Just A Disease Stakeholder Voice: BONELA fights discrimination in the workplace 20 Feature: Regina Lesole: Regina looks back gives a heartfelt story 21 Stigma: Broader Perspective 23 3 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  3. 3. PROJECT DRIVERS organizational profile Secondly, CEYOHO addresses the problem C entre for Youth of Hope ( C E YO H O ) i s a N o n of behavior change among young people. G o v e r n m e n t a l The level of awareness in Botswana is Organization (NGO) that was formed in 2001 estimated at over 90%. However, this by young PLWHA and formerly registered as award has not translated into desired a society in February 2002. Its primary target behavior practices that make them is young people living with HIV/AIDS. vulnerable to HIV and STI”S infection. And CEYOHO provides care and support to young people living with HIV/AIDS and educate Thirdly, CEYOHO mobilizes young people others on prevention and how to live and facilitate the formation of youth positively with HIV/AIDS.CEYOHO supports support groups with particular emphasis the development of income generating on providing care and support for youth activities by young people as a strategy to living with HIV and AIDS and strengthening mitigate the socio-economic impacts of their ability to live positively with HIV and HIV/AIDS. The organization is engaged in AIDS. community participation and involvement in ARV, CHBC, PMTCT, IPT, CHBC and VCT CEYOHO provides care and support and programs. educates youth on how to strengthen their ability to live positively. The center has CEYOHO addresses three core challenges. emerged as a widely acknowledged model of how to support young people living with First, stigma reduction among young peoples HIV and AIDS. CEYOHO confronts the especially those living with HIV/AIDS. Stigma underlying causes of stigma by has sustained the culture of silence among continuously designing interventions youth who are HIV positive and hence geared towards addressing the complex supported the silent spread of the epidemic problem of stigma. CEYOHO believes that among young people. Stigma has also stigma can be tackled, and can be instilled fear of rejection, isolation and eradicated through concerted efforts of discrimination and has greatly influenced organization, sharing a common goal the accessibility and utilization of HIV/AIDS mission and working together at different related services through programmes such levels through participatory approaches. as ARV, PMTCT, IPT, CHBC and in particular Voluntary Counseling & Testing (VCT). 6
  4. 4. support miss hiv stigma free
  5. 5. FROM THE DIRECTOR’S DESK the greatest obstacle in accessing AIDS programs Mrs. Kesego Basha - Mupeli Director - CEYOHO Stigma has stubbornly sustained a culture S tigma continues to be one of the major impediments to effective of silence hence the silence spread of Stigma combating of HIV and AIDS world HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV and AIDS has stubbornly over. It is one of the greatest obstacles to a report that dealing with stigma attached to successful response to HIV & AIDS. For HIV and AIDS is one of the primary sustained a culture instance, stigma deters many individuals challenges and sources of stress they face. of silence from accessing AIDS programmes and hence the silence services such as voluntary counselling and Effective campaign initiatives like the Miss testing, prevention of mother to child HIV Stigma Free pageant are more crucial spread HIV/AIDS. transmission of HIV as well as ARV free than ever before to thwart stigma. I would access e.t.c. It also makes it difficult to like to appeal to our Development in its anti Stigma Campaigns such as the adopt safer sex practices and behaviour partners and stakeholders to continue to “Miss HIV Stigma Free pageant” and “Stigma change. support CEYOHO Free Week” respectively. our deepest gratitude The following organizations and person Those that volunteered their time and O n behalf of CEYOHO Board, Management and Staff, I would like worth noting for their invaluable service, CEYOHO members and volunteers to extend my sincerest gratitude to contributions to the success of out and with sincere gratitude Mr Otto Masogo, all those who made the 2008 National Miss pageant; Honorable Gaotlhaetse Edwin Motse, David Parsons, Mr. Jacob HIV Stigma Free Pageant a success. Matlhaphiri (guest speaker),Franscistown Mathapa and Ms Maria Rakgowa. DMSAC (hosts), Mr. Mmoloki Ramontsho In particular we wish to thank our sponsors (Director of Ceremony), our judges Dr. On behalf of Batswana, I would like to extend the National AIDS Coordinating Agency Onalethata Johnson, Mr. Tshegofatso my exceptional thanks to the contestants ( N AC A ) , D e p a r t m e n t o f H I V/A I D S Mampane, Mrs. Gofaone Lentswe and Mr. that despite their HIV positive status, they Prevention Care and Support, Botswana Jabulani Makwiwa. can contribute meaningfully towards a Network of AIDS Services Organisations Stigma free Botswana. (BONASO) and Korean Auto Services . Special thanks to our supporters Barclays Bank of Botswana, Kagiso Funeral Parlour , Kesego Basha-Mupeli Our special thanks go to the outgoing World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry Director -CEYOHO queen for 2007, Mrs Maria Motse for her of Health, Botswana Couples Forum relentless effort in the fight against Botswana Treatment Literacy Coalition for Stigma. their contributions and the following District Multi Sectoral AIDS Committees for Ghanzi Mabutsane, Tlokweng, Gumare, Maun Chobe. 4 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  6. 6. BEAUTIES meet the contestants April 1978, in a town called Selebi-Phikwe I was born and named Tshebetso Thobolo. When I tested HIV positive, I beat myself up with self stigmatization. I even wrote a will My name is Kganetso Mokarabane; I was born for I believed my death would come inevitably My name is Kenamohona Tjirongo; I was born in Gantsi back in 1975. I am proud to say that I sooner. I couldn't even disclose to my parents in Kareng in 1985. I believe that being HIV am positively living with HIV/AIDS. It was not for fear of rejection, my friends deserted me positive is not my condemnation, it is vital for always easy but I built around me a very saying I would infect them. When I finally everyone to know their HIV status. There are strong support system to buddy me through gathered the courage to disclose, my parents accessible programs nationwide to help ease all my life's trials. I would like to thank my were happy and very supportive of my the burden of living with HIV/AIDS. I am proud family and the community I live in for not only decision to go public with my status. Currently to say that I am currently enrolled on ARVs accepting my status but for also being my I am involved in a lot of community based and positively adhering to treatment. pillar of hope and strength. information dissemination activities. Kenamohona Tjirongo - (Stage Name: ACHAP) Kganetso Mokarabane - (Stage Name: US Peace Corps) Tshebetso Thobolo - (Stage Name: HARVARD ) Gontle Kale - (Stage Name: S & CD) Chinidzo Keeditse - (Stage Name: NACA) Kentse Moalosi - (Stage Name: MASA) The year was 1985 in Maun when I was born. My name is Chinidzo Keeditse. I was born in I am Kentse Moalosi; I was born in Rakops in My name is Gontle Kale and I am living 1978 in Rakops. I have been living with 1978. I am positively living with HIV/AIDS. I positively with HIV/AIDS. I tested HIV positive HIV/AIDS since 2004. I tested because I had have learnt to accept my status as I want other back in 2006 when I was an expectant mild stroke and herpes zoster. My family has people to accept it as well. I am enrolled in the mother. From then I had the opportunity to always been supportive and they encouraged ARV program. keep check of my CD4 count and basically my me to join a support group. I am on ARVs and I life. I can testify to self stigmatization for I take them religiously. went through it, I was always afraid that if people were to know, they would shun me and laugh at me. Today, I would like to encourage people to know their status. 7 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  7. 7. b e a u t y , b ra i n s & s e r v i ce ! S t i g m a re m a i n s t h e g re a t e s t c h a l l e n ge i n t h e f i g h t a g a i n s t H I V a n d A I D S T h e M i ss H I V S t i g m a Fre e Pa ge a n t t a c k l e s s t i g m a h e a d - o n “Miss HIV Stigma Free Pageant initiative was awarded in 2004 as the best community initiative in Africa by “Initiative Africa” in France. Mrs. Kesego Basha-Mupeli was invited to France to receive the award.” Pageant Background M iss HIV Stigma free was initiated in 2002 by Mrs. Kesego Basha-Mupeli, a woman now aged 37 and openly living with HIV/AIDS. Mrs. Mupeli worked in the government and later on resigned to go and form “Center for Youth of Hope”. She left her job because she could not withstand the environment that she was working under because of her HIV positive status. She came face to face with the ugly face of stigma at her work place and within her community. She discovered that people living HIV/AIDS were not living positively because of stigma and discrimination. She tested HIV positive in 1997 and publicly disclosed her HIV status in 2001. Before then, she was actively involved in HIVAIDS work. Mrs. Mupeli went public with her HIV positive after she realized that fighting the epidemic in the closest was not changing and improving anything in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Mrs. Mupeli realized that to effectively fight and win the war against HIV/AIDS, visibility of people living with HIV/AIDS was an important factor. 8 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  8. 8. BEAUTIES meet the contestants My birth name is Ontlametse Photshane; I was born in Lehututu on the 12th of November 1981. My initial encounter with stigma was when I Chimwani Friday is my birth name. first went public about my HIV status. However, December 1981 in Pandamatenga I was the support from my family helped me born. I believe that I am special and very overcome it. I was then attached to the District unique because at my age, I know my I was born in 1982 in Khakhea. My name is Multi Sectoral AIDS Committee as a PLWHA lay status and I am living positively with Moroba Menwane. Since being diagnosed HIV counselor and that helped me reach-out to an HIV/AIDS, I have accepted myself and I am positive, I have gone to great lengths to ensure even greater magnitude of people. To my urging the world to do the same. that I am safe from re-infection as well as fellow Batswana, I want to say that stigma can Community support, relevant and adequate infecting others. I believe that as people living be eradicated with the sense of freedom to information can do wonders in our quest to with HIV/AIDS, with adequate support, play a disclose. stigma eradication. major role in HIV prevention. Ontlametse Photshane - (Stage Name: BONELA ) Chimwani Friday - (Stage Name: PSI) Moroba Menwane - (Stage Name: BOTUSA) Keitsekgabo Gontho - (Stage Name: BONASO) Kenole Leinatsela - (Stage Name: DEBSWANA) Kegaisamang Ntshipi - (Stage Name: BONEPWA) I am Keitsekgabo Gontho, I was born in Back in December 1978, in a village called My name is Kegaisamang Ntshipi from Gaborone back in 1973. Before disclosing my Molapowabojang, I was born. My name is Molepolole. I was born in June 1975. Since my status to my family, I was haunted by self Kenole Leinatsela. I enjoy working with people HIV positive diagnosis, I have had it tough. stigmatization. I longed for the support of my infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. I value When I disclosed my status to the father of my family until I told them. I wondered how I disseminating the correct and relevant child, he rejected me and that hurts. I then could live with HIV/AIDS without the support information about HIV and AIDS as I believe resorted to alcohol for comfort. In the long run, of my family, how could they support me if that this is one of the best tools in crushing I realized the dangers posed by my choices on they don't even know what I am going the stigma and discrimination attached to my health, especially since I had enrolled on through? living with HIV/ AIDS. the ARV program, I then quit drinking. Today I am proud to declare myself a responsible self- confident woman living openly and positively with her HIV/AIDS status. 9 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  9. 9. THE MOMENT Mpho Mokoti Hon. G. U. S. Matlhabaphiri Mrs. Mapine District AIDS Coordinator: Francistown Assistant Minister of Health Barclays Bank of Botswana: Francistown WORDS SHARED T he 2008/9 Miss HIV Stigma Free Death due to HIV and AIDS and related Honorable Matlhabaphiri took a moment to kicked off at the Tati River Lodge, diseases has dropped significantly due to congratulate CEYOHO on winning the City of Francistown on the 5th of holistic approach and synergy of Initiative Africa Award. On a personal note December. The guests and the contestants programs.' He declared, 'today CEYOHO he mentioned that he has learnt that there is were welcome to battle field of twelve supported by government has made life after HIV diagnosis from people such as stigma thwarting queens by District AIDS strides especially amongst the youth living the contestants of this pageant. 'These Coordinator , Ms. Mpho Mokoti. with HIV and AIDS. Support structures and contestants are no different from us. I look at programs under CEYOHO provide a them as ordinary human beings, like me and Thereafter the Honorable Assistant platform for networking among youth you' he told the attendants. 'Knowing one's M i n i s t e r of H e a l t h M r. G . U. S . living with HIV and AIDS.' status can only make you live better with Matlhabaphiri gave a keynote address. He yourself and I encourage you, especially the started off by reminding those in He sadly noted that fear and lack of trust youth, to test and know your status. attendance that they are gathered to fight has made HIV a secretive disease. And with Knowledge is power and such power can a common enemy stigma, a result of 'fear hope he stressed that an initiative such as only inform better choices for progressive bestowed upon us by HIV.' He mentioned this pageant helps to improve acceptance living, nothing else' he concluded. that the government welcomes and is in our society and that our nation has learnt committed to supporting the initiatives more from brave men and women who Mrs. Mapine of the Barclays Bank then gave such as Ms HIV Stigma free for the purpose stood against the strong tide of stigma and closing remarks in which she mentioned the they serve. 'They bring about the disclosed their status publicly. He pointed great partnership Barclays and CEYOHO acceptance of one another despite the out that little as it may seem these have enjoyed over the years. Together they disease one has. It helps fight the scourge individuals have enabled through courage have seen the Miss HIV Stigma Free grow which has taken away our loved ones. We many others to access government from an infant to a responsible citizen she is are all affected and the evidence points treatment initiatives such as ARV and today! towards effective progress in our PMTCT. concerted efforts. our nation has learnt more from brave men and women who stood against the strong Mr. Ramontsho Master of Ceremony tide of stigma Maria Motse Miss HIV Stigma Free 2007/8 Men Sector Fransitown 11 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  10. 10. TRIBUTE paying homage TO CYNTHIA LESHOMO A Remarkable Queen Miss HIV Stigma Free 2005 I am taken back to the week after her crowning, I had just gotten into town and I Her name is gave her a congratulatory call. I am sure written in many’s that the world knows that she deserved it. The Cynthia I knew was beautiful, self hearts through driven, intelligent, funny and very confident. the energy I first met Cynthia when she began working she gave in as a PA to the Director at the Coping Center for PLWHAs in Gaborone, though you could serving Cynthia Leshomo tell from the beginning that she was not a Miss Stigma Free 2005 shy person, she pretended she was or It was imperative that I give her that maybe she just had issues to deal with. congratulatory call, I asked her if she would go for lunch with me but in her true manner I believe Cynthia was ready to explode for she simply said, “I do not dine with the likes when she disclosed her status to me, she of you, I am a popular and in-demand queen didn't even know that I was a certified now my dear.” Of course it was her way of counselor, she didn't even take caution of apologizing since she was now swamped in where we were, she just wanted to tell interviews from the world over. I knew then someone about her life, now that was the that she was going to be a Miss Stigma Free Cynthia I grew to know and cherish over the queen to be reckoned with. years we were workmates. I still go into the internet now to browse for Cynthia was not shy to share her life changes what I have titled the Cynthia network. Our with everyone and anyone who had an ear to Cynthia had dreams even from the very listen, people talked, but Cynthia did not beginning, she wanted to make her mark in care. And talking about her beauty, she was the field. I remember that before she went our queen of elegance, an inspiration to the public with her status, she had this anxiety women of the world, especially women that made her believe that certain people living with HIV and AIDS. I mention AIDS did not want her to go public. That those because even in her adherence life Cynthia people feared that should she go public, she had faults that would impact greatly on her would make a mark far greater than theirs. health, some she encountered deliberately Cynthia as I knew her. She did go public and whilst some I sincerely believe were through by God, the world was ready for her, I believe no fault of hers. I remember when she had that because soon after her crowning she first been hospitalized; coming back to work started touching lives within and beyond after months of uncertainty in the hospital our borders. she would tease the world and say that people did not check on her because they To this day, I still hope and pray that anyone believed that she was dying of AIDS. Cynthia who has ever been in contact with Cynthia as I knew her! With her frail figure, her realizes just what a gem we have lost. I could Truworths pants and innocently skimpy top say so much about Cynthia but space does as well as tenderly glossed lips, she would not allow. be looking beautiful as ever and as usual, she would still be joking for the world. Cynthia, the world you graced misses you dear. Hope you find your peace! 12 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  11. 11. COMMUNITY Dikgosi AS PARTNERS IN FIGHTING HIV/AIDS STIGMA I n Botswana Dikgosi (Chiefs) are the B otswana has been graping with the issue of HIV/AIDS for over twenty years major gate keepers of their communities now. Though a lot has been achieved and command a lot of respect and over the years, HIV/AIDS still remains a major influence which can be used to address socio-economic threat to Botswana as a factors influencing the spread of HIV such as country. This state of affairs calls for new culture, gender, sexuality and domestic innovative approaches in addressing the violence. BONASO therefore identified scourge of HIV/AIDS. Chiefs as credible and influential partners because besides their influence they also have unlimited access to their people O ne African wise man once said, “The HIV problem is in the community and through numerous platforms that their work so is its solution”. In accordance with and duties present. this saying the Botswana Network of AIDS Service Organizations (BONASO) ventured into a new innovative approach to HIV/AIDS programming through mutual partnerships with communities. t hey mediate at Kgotlas, address meetings, and get opportunities to speak at public gatherings both official and social. This scenario presents a very potent opportunity for Chiefs to play a vital role as agents of behaviour change in their community. It is on the basis of this state the HIV problem is of affairs that BONASO in collation with African Council of AIDS Service in the community and Organizations. (AFRICASO) developed and implemented a series of workshops designed to equip Chiefs with knowledge so is its solution and avail a forum for them to come up wit practical and viable plans of what they can do as Chiefs to effect behaviour change within there communities. Tribal Leadership Workshop 13 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  12. 12. EMERGING ISSTES Culture t he concept of culture was introduced using the symbol of a knife, it can be put to both positive use like cutting meet for dinner or With this understanding in the backdrop, participants went into small groups to critically explore culture and identify aspects of culture that can influence the spread of HIV and those that can curb the spread of HIV. killing a person. ASPECTS THAT INFLUENCE THE SPREAD OF HIV ASPECTS THAT CAN CURB THE SPREAD OF HIV Tswana idioms such as Monna ke selepe o a adimawa Taboos which forbids sex before marriage meaning a man, like an axe can be shared. The concept of Botho which advocates for mutual The concept of Small House respect, dignity and responsible behaviour. Cultural practices such as Seantlo where a relative especially Traditional songs that promote good behaviour the brother can inherit the wife of a deceased brother. Polygamy Sharing of razor blades at the traditional doctor Unhygienic and risky initiation practices An Example of Proposed Activities and Goal By Chiefs 1. Community consultative meeting to report about the workshop and get input from community on the action plan 2. As Chiefs we are given an opportunity to address gathering at meetings, wedding, funerals and celebrations. these opportunities will be utilize to address various issues from the workshop such as Gender, traditional/cultural practices which may influence the spread of HIV. ten minutes or so will be dedicated to one of the topics at a time 3. To integrate HIV/AIDS education, Gender, Cultural aspects which influences the spread of HIV, and Domestic Violence within the activities of all committees to which we belong as ex-officio members. 3. to hold community consultative meetings and workshops to address the above mentioned topics from time to time. 14 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  13. 13. REIGNING QUEEN ’08 Queen thobolo tshebetso tshebetso thobolo walking that I am delighted to have won the Miss HIV I pledge to work tirelessly during my reign. Stigma Free. I was competing against very string and determined beautiful To me this is not just a crown it is a platform for service, a chance for a voice to be heard, ramp was ladies. I feel we are all winners because we all had the courage to walk the ramp and a moment for work to be done and a vehicle to transport life saving information. Our announcing our show everyone that being HIV positive is efforts and those of many others in this presence to the not a disability. We were not just in a competition, walking that ramp was fight are at this point in time pinned on me through this simple and beautiful crown. nation and our announcing our presence to the nations Wearing this crown is symbolic to wearing communities and our communities that we are ready to serve them. To me every time I took to the the hopes of the women I took to the ramp with today. that we are ramp I was like I was walking all over the ready to serve stigma. When I was diagnosed with HIV in 2001 during the pregnancy of my second child them Winning this pageant is both an easy and the world came crumbling on me. Here I challenging thing. It is an easy task for me was 3 months pregnant with a possibility of because I become a queen when many bring to earth an HIV positive life, innocent great others have done a great job while but disadvantaged by me. It was not easy to they were queens. I simply will be standing accept my status but I soldiered on and on the shoulders of those who came before gave birth to an HIV negative baby. It was me. I do not need to explain in many words the greatest joy of my life. I went for as to what the role of Miss HIV Stigma Free rigorous counseling sessions at COCEPWA is because they did with their dedication and gradually started to disclose my status and commitment. to family over time and they are very supportive. My partner abandoned me All I have to do is carry on with the good upon knowing my status. I don't blame him work and that is where the challenge it's the stigma I blame. He has stayed with begins. I am taking the baton from the hard me when we both had other diseases and working Mariah Motse and it is not easy to infections but went away when HIV came. fill those shoes. Great as she is I do not only But HIV is something we can not run away have to feel her shoes but of many others from we simply have to face it and live with like Regina Lesole and Cynthia Leshomo it. (may her soul rest in peace). This is a great challenge but believe me I am up to the I am currently on ARV treatment. I have had task. I simply can not let these great women my fair share of side effects but eventually I and those I was competing with down. and ARVs agreed that this is a marriage without divorce not matter what I recieve this crown with great honor and I differences we might have. Having dedicate it to those who have dedicated received a lot of public stigma I decided to their lives to the fight against HIV in our amass courage and enter for the pageant to country. Like (former) President Rre Mogae let them know stigma is not taking me said, the war is on and victory is the only down and specifically to win and get an Tshebetso Thobolo option. opportunity to educate them. Miss HIV Stigma Free 2008 15 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  14. 14. WHO IS WHO the pageant in pictures 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1. Herero attire by the contestants from Maun 2. Contestants first appearance 3, What is an event without traditional tunes? 4.Programme Manager - BONASO 5. Top Table - Hon. Matlhabaphiri and guests. 6. Contestants go traditional 7. Tlokweng DMSAC Coordinator giving moral support. 8. Basha- Mupeli is all smiles, the beauties are doing it. 9. The Kings were there too, mutual support 10. Mmino ko thekeng 11. It's a tough one, the judges watch carefully 12. Finally the queen is found. 16 19 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  15. 15. help fight stigma its not my hiv status that hurts, it is what you say & do to me just because i am hiv positive!
  16. 16. THE OTHER VOICE just a virus just a disease Extract from Witness to AIDS; -a book written by Justice Edwin Cameroon Justice Edwin Cameron Justice/Author/AIDS Activist A IDS is a disease. It is an infection, a AIDS is therefore a manageable condition. Where life-saving treatment is available to syndrome, an illness, a disorder, a The drugs that disable viral replication the patient, it may be the doctor's duty to condition threatening to human exist, in ample number and manifold push the patient gently to agree to be life. It is an epidemic a social crisis, an combinations. They are capable of being tested. economic catastrophe, a political produced cheaply. What prevents their challenge, a human disaster. AIDS is inexpensive production and ready In Botswana, South Africa's land-locked known. It has been analyzed assessed distribution is in the first instance laws, neighbor, President Festus Mogae's assayed tested measured surveyed national and international, that protect the government in 2001 announced a far- considered reflected documented exclusive rights of the corporations that seeing national plan to provide depicted exhaustively described. Its virus have intellectual property title (patent antiretroviral treatment through the is primal particular sub-cellular mutant rights) to them. public health service to everyone with enveloped nitrogenous. Our knowledge of AIDS. But, as the death toll from AIDS it is clear and precise. But the disease is Death from AIDS is lingering, painful, and continued to climb, poor enlistment also unknown. It is guessed estimated (particularly in resource-poor settings) baffled government health planners. So projected approximated sketched very short of dignity. And because AIDS is a from January 2004, the Botswana debated disputed controverted hidden syndrome of disparate diseases because government announced that unless obscured. Still, it is mere fact: an event, a unlike cancer or ailments of the circulatory patients at public health facilities actively circumstance, a happening, a reality as system or heart it does not strike efficiently declined to be tested for HIV, the test present as the ocean or the moon. at a single vital organ, but allows wasting would be routinely administered. disorders gradually to wrack the body as a AIDS is mouth and tongue and scar and whole and because most of those with Some of my activist friends felt dubious nerve and eye and brain and skin and tum AIDS are young adults whose bodies are about the change. I differed. Provided that and gut. AIDS is smell and feel of sweat otherwise still relatively strong, death from treatment is available, with guarantees of and grime and snot and breath and bowel AIDS is almost invariably a ghastly, drawn- confidentiality and against discrimination, and secretion, discharge, pus, out event. I thought and still think that testing is more putrescence, disintegration, excrement, often than not necessary, and beneficial. It waste. Human waste. AIDS is feeling Perhaps worse than many of its other is better that health workers trying to be painful sharp tingling burning heavy dull features, more puzzling, less tractable, and true to their calling of beneficence should weakening wasting enervating besides complicating everything else, AIDS nudge patients who may need treatment diminishing destroying bereaving. AIDS is is also shame. Shame the humiliation or towards the HIV test than that they allow fear. It is breathless and nameless. distress that arises from self-knowledge of patients to return home, trapped by fear dishonor or offence or impropriety or and stigma, untested, to add to the AIDS is stigma disgrace discrimination indecency. epidemic's already appalling toll of hatred hardship abandonment isolation unnecessary deaths. exclusion prohibition persecution poverty Alone in my car on the way home I operated privation. the controls as if for the first time, the By contrast, where no treatment is steering wheel unfamiliar beneath my available as in the bleak 1980s, and as is AIDS is metaphor. It is a threat, a tragedy, a palms. The silence around me seemed still the case through most of Africa blight, a blot, a scar, a stain, a plague, a intense. All the organs through which I was testing may do little more than expose scourge, a pestilence, a demon killer breathing had suddenly been fixed with an those who prove positive to stigma, rampant rampaging murderer. It is made unspecified but surely imminent term ostracism and discrimination. And without moral. It is condemnation deterrence date. proper support (including counseling) an retribution punishment, a sin a lesson a unpresaged HIV positive test result is curse rebuke judgment. It is a disease. The shock was double. Apart from the blow almost always damagingly counter- of learning that I was infected, most productive. The most signally important thing about immediately I felt as though I had AIDS is a hopeful fact that it can now be experienced a stunning bereavement the There is no doubt that many people medically managed. When the virus's impending loss of my own life. I was thirty- thought and still think of those with AIDS replication within the human body is three, building my career. In the more or HIV as contaminated with a vile, self- disabled, its effects become remediable. promising days of treatment access, these induced affliction. But all too many Drug treatment can now stop viral norms are swiftly changing, and rightly so. sufferers are painfully conditioned into replication. also thinking that way about themselves. 18 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  17. 17. THE OTHER VOICE just a virus just a disease Workers are sacked. Spouses are shut out. [Despite availability of treatment] many of Friends are abandoned. Services, help and them most still, it would seem are deeply support are refused. What is perhaps most reluctant to do so. This, my hosts told me, is poignant and most impenetrable about because they fear they will be identified as stigma is that some of its impact seems to having AIDS. So they postpone it for as long originate from within. The external as possible. They fall sick first. Even then manifestations find an ally within the they delay. They eventually go and stand in minds of many people with HIV or AIDS. the clinic's queues. But mostly they do so Stigma's irrational force springs not only only when they are approaching the point from the prejudiced, bigoted, fearful of death. reactions others have to AIDS it lies in the fears and self-loathing, the self- This led the Botswana government to undermining and ultimately self- introduce a radical re-think of HIV testing destroying inner sense of self-blame that policies. This change of policy, against the all too many people with AIDS or HIV background of the offer of real treatment experience themselves.It is the options, helps patients too fearful to combination of these two forces investing confront their own HIV to be given AIDS stigma that renders its effects so treatment. Unless prompted, as in my own Looking back on the problem I powerful and so destructive. case, they all too easily postpone, experienced in not being able to talk with prevaricate, suppress, deny. In dwindling my human rights lawyer colleagues, I see In his national address in 2001 President hope and growing fear, they rationalize the all too clearly that it emanated partly from Mogae made a breakthrough symptoms they experience, dreading the within me. At some inaccessible, a n n o u n c e m e n t . To g e t h e r w i t h diagnosis they fear they will eventually get. impenetrable level even while international drug companies and the Bill In some horrifically constrained sense, challenging injustice against people with and Melinda Gates Foundation, his they are 'choosing' to die, rather than face AIDS in the courts and on committees and government would offer treatment with the stigma of AIDS and find treatment. on public platforms I was still struggling life-saving drugs to every citizen with AIDS. Illness and the attendant risk of death feel with an overwhelming inner sense of It was a visionary and far-reaching less horrific to them than the stigma of shame. In some indefinable sense that I commitment. It set a bold standard that having AIDS. That sense is internally, and grappled to surmount, I felt that my other countries in Africa have now begun to not only externally, fuelled by the shame infection showed that I had acted follow (in May 2004, Malawi, one of Africa's that many people with AIDS or HIV feel shamefully, dishonorably, so as to bring poorest countries, announced its own about their own condition. not only death but disgrace upon myself. $196 million programme to distribute free antiretroviral treatment to all who need it). Why does sex leave shame? Perhaps it lies My colleagues were all committed of in the embarrassment that arises from course to justice and fairness and The Botswana government's pioneering exposure of what one thought was utterly nondiscrimination. But I confided in none commitment was widely known private and intimate. Perhaps to admit to of them. I could take no risks. Nor could I throughout the country. Yet takers were having a sexually transmitted infection is permit myself the comfort of connection. initially perilously few. One survey to be caught out in an act of sexual In dealing with clients and plotting public suggests that to stay alive and well more intimacy, with all its attendant interest litigation challenges we than 100 000 people in Botswana need the embarrassment and shame. Perhaps in our developed close camaraderie and even drugs without delay. Yet by late 2003 only deepest selves we feel that a sexually friendship. But I could no more tell them about 15 000 people perhaps fewer had transmitted infection shows others that we that I had HIV than seek solace by come forward to accept the free have been 'caught out'. The infection confiding that I had molested one of their medication. Why? I asked my hosts this leaves a mark, a stain, a print, linking us children or pets. That was how deep, how question in June 2003, when I joined back to an act so private, so intimate, so powerful, how repulsive my condition Botswana judges and business, civic and sacrosanct, so emotionally and spiritually seemed to me. Perhaps you think my government leaders at an AIDS awareness unguarded the moment of sexual coupling reactions excessively subjective, or the meeting in Gaborone. President Festus that its external manifestation in an illness, comparisons overstated. But powerfully Mogae had originally agreed to come, but its exposure to the world, is deeply irrational responses to AIDS overshadow was called away to a United Nations embarrassing and therefore shameful. the epidemic even today. For stigma a meeting in New York. He sent a well-liked Perhaps we still regard ourselves as guilty social brand that marks disgrace, and senior cabinet minister instead. She of some sort of sin of sexual contamination, humiliation and rejection remains the read his letter of apology. It had the ring of as marked by moral inferiority, by an most ineluctable, indefinable, intractable personal authorship. uncleanness or exposure of body, and problem in the epidemic. hence a sense of moral inferiority. Some My Botswana hosts gave me a one-word religious moralists inflame all this. They Stigma is perhaps the greatest dread of answer to my question: stigma. People are forget that AIDS is a disease. We all do. those who live with AIDS and HIV greater too scared too ashamed to come forward Most HIV positive people die of stigma and to many even than the fear of a and claim what their government is now fear. Surrounded by fear and uncertainty, disfiguring, agonizing and protracted affording them as their right: the right to they make themselves inaccessible to help. death. Stigma manifests itself in hatred, treatment, the right to stay well, the right to They are scared of stigma. discrimination, rejection, exclusion. stay alive. 19 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  18. 18. STAKEHOLDER VOICE stigma discrimination and in the workplace B otswana has ratified international W h i l s t t h e n u m b e r of c a s e s t h e That was the only explanation proffered. and regional instruments which organization has handled is significant in Modukanele with the help of BONELA guarantee human rights protections. its own right, it would not be presumptuous approached the courts seeking help. First the Despite these commendable efforts, the to assume that there are many more cases dispute was taken to a District Labour office Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV that occur but go unreported for lack of whereat the employee was given a total and AIDS (BONELA) is concerned that the knowledge of the ability to seek redress. award of P19 979.70, which the employer government of Botswana has not ensured Clearly, this is unsustainable. It is BONELA's refused and/ or ignored to pay. The matter translation of these instruments into the view that this status quo can be remedied was then referred to the Industrial Court, and local context. and that such remedial action can only be the said court awarded him a total sum of P24 provided through enactment of the much 425.85. The breakdown of this amount is as International instruments are not binding needed HIV Employment Law. follows: (6 months salary as compensation as long as the Bill of Rights does not cater for unfair dismissal =P10 800.00, unlawfully for them being automatically adopted into As a case in point, in Agust 2008, BONELA withheld accrued leave pay = P192.40, local law. This puts emphasis on the need re p re s e n t e d 4 9 ye a r o l d B e n s o n overtime = P13 433.45) the Industrial Court for a sustainable response to HIV and AIDS Modukanele, who was then employed by handed out a heavy judgment against an incorporating enactment of enabling HITECON, a Chinese construction company, employer who discriminated against an legislation on HIV/AIDS to eliminate as a Driver. Mr. Modukanele started working employee who revealed his HIV status to the human rights violations. Essentially, a th for the said company from the 15 February said employer. sustainable response cannot hinge on 2007 at a monthly salary of P1 800.00. He provision of treatment alone, but has to be was later diagnosed with HIV and decided accompanied by the respect of human to tell his employer, through its owner Mr. T h e S o u t h e r n A f r i c a D eve l o p m e n t dignity and assurance for those living with Hu Zhongwen with the hope that he will Community (SADC) has already set the pace HIV/AIDS, that they will not be victims of treat the information maturely, sensitively through the adoption of the SADC Regional violations of their rights. and with understanding. Instead, the latter Model Law on HIV and AIDS which was told Modukanele that he should cease to adopted by the SADC Parliamentary Forum These violations have been evidenced by work for him as he does not want to deal during its 24th Plenary Assembly convened the number of cases that BONELA has with employees infected with HIV. The in Arusha, Tanzania, from the 20th 27th handled to date. In 2008 alone, BONELA's employee tried in vain to impress upon the November 2008. BONELA is proud to have legal clinic handled 50 court cases of employer that he is fit and able to perform been one of the leading organizations in which 30 have been settled out of court optimally. In the end, he was fired on the 8 th drafting this document. It is hoped that this and some are still in progress. The cases of October 2007 without any reason. In development will prompt countries such as highlight human rights abuses such as fact, the employer gave him a handwritten Botswana which are lagging behind in unfair dismissal, stigma, discrimination, note saying “we do not need your service enacting laws to safeguard people living with wrong HIV diagnosis, denied access to for the future”. HIV and AIDS from human rights violations. tests and deportation in a specific case. 20 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  19. 19. Stigma Reduction Community Outreach PLWA Support Services PLWA Advocacy Issues Positive Living Sessions HIV Prevention & Health skills
  20. 20. STAKEHOLDER VOICE stigma! broader perspective "Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world" -UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon A IDS-related stigma refers to the AIDS-related stigma is not static. It changes In the workplace, PLWHA may suffer stigma prejudice and discrimination over time as infection levels, knowledge of from their co-workers and employers, such as directed at people living with the disease and treatment availability vary. social isolation and ridicule, or experience HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and the groups and A study of 1,268 adults in Botswana found discriminatory practices, such as termination communities that they are associated with. that stigmatising attitudes had lessened or refusal of employment. Fear of an It can result in people living with HIV/AIDS three years after the national programme employer's reaction can cause a person living being rejected from their community, providing universal access to antiretroviral with HIV anxiety. shunned, discriminated against or even treatment was introduced. The study physically hurt. concluded that although antiretroviral therapy access may be a factor in reducing Community-level stigma and discrimination stigma, it does not eliminate stigma can manifest as ostracism, rejection and AIDS stigma and discrimination have been altogether and does not lessen the fear of verbal and physical abuse. In extreme seen all over the world, although they stigma amongst HIV positive people. circumstances it has extended to acts of manifest themselves differently between violence and murder. AIDS related murders countries, communities, religious groups have been reported in countries as diverse as and individuals. They are often seen The epidemic of fear, stigmatization and Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, South Africa alongside other forms of stigma and discrimination has undermined the ability and Thailand. In December 1998, Gugu discrimination, such as racism, of individuals, families and societies to Dlamini was stoned and beaten to death by homophobia or misogyny and can be protect themselves and provide support neighbours in her township near Durban, a ss o c i a t e d w i t h b e h a v i o r s o f t e n and reassurance to those affected. This South Africa, after speaking openly on World considered socially unacceptable such as hinders, in no small way, efforts at stemming AIDS Day about her HIV status. prostitution. the epidemic. It complicates decisions about testing, disclosure of status, and ability to negotiate prevention behaviours, HIV-related stigma and discrimination Stigma directed at PLWHA not only makes it including use of family planning services. severely hamper efforts to effectively fighting more difficult for people trying to come to the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Fear of terms with and manage their illness on a AIDS-related stigma has had a profound discrimination often prevents people from personal level, but it also interferes with effect on the epidemic's course. The WHO seeking treatment for AIDS or from admitting attempts to fight the AIDS epidemic as a cites fear of stigma and discrimination as their HIV status publicly. People with (or whole. On a national level, the stigma the main reason why people are reluctant to suspected of having) HIV may be turned away associated with HIV can deter governments be tested, to disclose HIV status or to take from healthcare services and employment, or from taking fast, effective action against antiretroviral drugs. These factors all refused entry to a foreign country. Denial the epidemic, whilst on a personal level it contribute to the expansion of the epidemic goes hand in hand with discrimination, with can make individuals reluctant to access and a higher number of AIDS-related many people continuing to deny that HIV HIV testing, treatment and care. deaths. An unwillingness to take an HIV test exists in their communities. Today, HIV/AIDS means that more people are diagnosed late, threatens the welfare and wellbeing of when the virus has already progressed to people throughout the world. At the end of Fear of contagion coupled with negative, the year 2007, 33 million people were living AIDS, making treatment less effective and value-based assumptions about people with HIV and during the year 2 million died causing early death. Some of these who are infected leads to high levels of from AIDS-related illness. Combating stigma consequences refer to 'internal stigma' or stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. It is difficult and discrimination against people who are 'self-stigma'. Internal stigma refers to how to talk about HIV/AIDS-related stigma as a affected by HIV/AIDS is vital in the process of someone with HIV thinks about themselves singular phenomenon, as attitudes preventing and controlling the global and how they believe that the public towards the epidemic and those affected epidemic. perceives someone with HIV. People living vary massively. Even within one country with HIV/AIDS may impose stigmatizing reactions to HIV/AIDS will vary between beliefs and actions on themselves. different groups of people and individuals. Religion, gender, sexuality, age and levels of AIDS education can all affect how somebody feels about the disease. MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT 22
  21. 21. FEATURE “I saw a sight I will never forget in my life, my face was swollen and dark, my eyes red and to me that was clear AIDS.” Regina Lesole heartfelt my story, my journey! Miss HIV Stigma Free 2006 ...a A fter secretly living with my HIV I looked at myself in the mirror and I saw a positive status for six years, it was in sight I will never forget in my life, my face September 2006 that I decided to break the silence and entered for the Miss was swollen and dark, my eyes red and to me that was clear AIDS. Self-stigmatization perception Stigma Free Beauty Pageant. The pageant is a spectacle of beautiful HIV positive ladies who showcase not only their beauty but became my greatest alliance. I believed everyone was laughing at me. Slowly but surely I could feel suffocated by the that people knowledge, determination and boldness. My determination and support from my fabrications of my confused mind. They negative thoughts were leading me to self go public for family and colleagues saw me through to the final where I scooped the title among destruction. Fortunately I came across Helen Ditsebe Mhone, an activist and a financial gain. other fifteen beautiful ladies. mother who helped me pull through and showed me that I should not be part of the th I am Reginah, 42 years old, born January 18 problem, but part of the solution and I took 1967, a distinct Capricorn. I am a her word very strong woman who has been seriously, that through more than her fair share of tough times. With a failed self is how my commitment I also mobilized testing in all the branches in Gaborone for Barclays and FNB marriage and a blessing of three children, two boys and a girl, I stigmatization to HIV and AIDS issues employees through motivational talks. During my reign my main focus was on the decided to move on as a single mother who works very hard to became my started. work place but extended to the community. I am naturally a people's make sure her children are happy. greatest I attended person so I never had problems with people where I went including schools I supplement my salary with some beadwork sales, a skill I acquired alliance. empowermen t workshops where students treated me like a real hero. in my adult years. that built my A lot of people made me feel good and I strength. I appreciate that. There is always a negative My world harshly came crushing on me began attending international conferences side in life so there were times when I during my final year at the University of where I made presentations representing came across people who felt I was wrong Botswana where I was studying for my my country. After winning the title I to go public about my status because I am Bachelor of Education Degree in 2000. I was traveled to Germany to attend “generation educated and have a job, so I took it a in an abusive marriage and I only found AIDS conference” as an ambassador for perception that people go public for peace was when I was at school. I was positive living. It was a wonderful financial gain. There is no money involved nearing the completion on my studies and experience that made me grow even as far as this title is involved; instead there beginning to realize that I am just going further. are times when you have to even spend back to the same hell house. I approached a from your pocket to reach your goals. counselor and poured my heart unto her. When I won the title I was working for Soon I all the advice she gave was gone with Tebelopele as a counselor and the As far as relationships are concerned I am a the wind and I moved on with my life. One organization gave me all the support. I was failure, because I love too much and give day in October 2000, I was passing even transferred to Gaborone to enable me too much, people end up taking advantage Tebelopele centre in the main mall and to carry out my activities as the reigning of me. The male species does not decided just to get in and test. I was queen in 2006/7. Barclays Bank pledged appreciate the good lover I am and thus confident that I was negative because to me P50 000 for my activities during my reign tend to punish me instead, maybe God HIV was for promiscuous people and I was and I organized a campaign in Tlokweng wants me to focus on helping the not that type. I left the counseling room where there was mobilization, education, community and that is what I will do, so for feeling like a “zombie”. Instead of taking a entertainment and HIV testing for a whole now, my love life is on halt until the combi to Broadhurst I thought it was faster week. That week a total of 380 people in Almighty presents me with my soul mate. to walk. I believed I my legs could carry Tlokweng tested. I also sensitized the faster to home than a vehicle would. All I community through radio talk shows and To the world I would like to say, it is wiser to wanted was to hide myself in my room. I public speaking in different parts of the know and deal with your HIV status now for could not believe my results. country. a good Philosopher once said, 23 MISS HIV STIGMA FREE MAG REPORT
  22. 22. THE PAGEANT Miss HIV Stigma Free Entry Requirements and Selection Criteria Participants of this contest will not be legible to participate in this competition for more than three(3) consecutive times The Miss HIV Stigma Free pageant winner will not be legible to participate in this pageant for the second time The 1st and 2nd Miss HIV Stigma Free winners will be legible to participate for the second time. st nd This competition is ONLY open to women living with HIV and AIDS and must have disclosed their HIV positive status at least 90days before the pageant. Participants should be aged between 18 and 35years old. Participants must be actively involved in community HIV and AIDS related activities and will be expected to continue doing so after the competition. The Miss HIV Stigma Free winner together with the 1st and 2nd Princesses will enter into a twelve(12) st nd months signed contract with CEYOHO. Objectives of Miss HIV Stigma Free To help fight stigma through greater involvement and empowerment of people living with HIV & AIDS To combat HIV and AIDS through promotion of visibility of people living with HIV and AIDS To provide a role model for positive living To help advocate for the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS To help identify positive ambassadors in the community If you wish to participate, sponsor or volunteer in Miss HIV Stigma Free Pageant please contact: Centre for Youth of Hope Tel/Fax : (+267) 3919958 P O. Box 25211 . Tel : (+267) 3167412 Gaborone, Botswana Cell : (+267) 71763659 Plot 20054, Gaborone West Phase II E-mail : ceyoho@botsnet.bw