The women chair ladies dwelled much on social attitudes towards issues relating to HIV/AIDS. The biggest problem in fighting AIDS is breaking the silence that surrounds the epidemic. Although thousands of people are ill or dying, it is not spoken about and families often hide the fact that their relatives had AIDS.

The Health facilitator, Dorica Mchwa, mentioned that people still feel that it is something that happens to others and not to their families. People who are infected fear rejection and discrimination from those around them and try to hide their illness. Although testing is available, only about one in ten people who are HIV positive know it. This means that they can carry on infecting others without knowing it.

There are myths around AIDS and they lead to people seeing it as a scandal that should be kept secret. Many people see those with AIDS as people who were promiscuous or homosexual. AIDS is almost seen as a plague that you can catch just from being with someone who is HIV positive. In some communities people with AIDS have been chased out or attacked.

MASYAP Women Chair Ladies Meeting