Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - First Lady Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Thursday pledged support for people living with HIV and AIDS while calling for an end to stigmatisation and discrimination by society.
Madam Bah-Barrow made the pledge while presiding over a stakeholder’s meeting on prevention of mother-to-children transmission HIV held at a local hotel in Bijilo in the West Coast region.
The event brought together stakeholders including government ministers, UN country representatives, health workers and some HIV patients.
Bah-Barrow said: “It is therefore my fervent hope that we will support and show solidarity to this community whilst fighting against stigma and discrimination directed against people living with HIV and AIDs.
“I would like you all to think of the fact that they may be the ones that are infected today but anyone of us or our loved ones can be infected in the future.”
She expressed dismay saying “it is rather unfortunate that sometimes people die from the effects of stigma and discrimination and not actually of HIV itself”.
Meanwhile, several stakeholders, including health workers, urged people, especially pregnant women, to go for testing regularly.
They also urged mothers to take their children for testing six month after birth.
According to them, despite the fact that the human deficiency virus [HIV] cannot be cured, it can be treated, and urged for integration of those living with the virus in the society.
Three bold women who confessed of living with the virus called on fellows infected to come reach out to health centres and hospital for treatment.
One of them, who confessed to living with the virus for almost 25 years, said “anywhere I stand I would like say these that HIV is not a killer disease and it is not life sentence”.
-0- PANA MSS/RA 23Jan2020