NATIONAL AIDS Council (NAC) communications manager Justin Mwiinga says the mocking of people suspected to be HIV positive by Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo is a gross violation of one’s rights and freedom to health services.
And Mwiinga says Kampyongo’s remarks were an affront to the fight against stigmatisation of the AIDS pandemic.
Last Friday, Kampyongo said accusing him of being in quarantine was like alleging that the Diggers! editor was HIV positive.
He was reacting to a News Diggers! Story, which revealed that he was one of the top government officials that were in quarantine as a precautionary measure after being possibly exposed to the Coronavirus in Namibia.
“For you, our colleagues in the media, you imagine coming here on a very big platform to say, ‘no, Mr Joseph Mwenda, who was at The Post, now at [News] Diggers!…I saw him at the clinic collecting ARVs and I think that’s why he has gone slim, he is HIV positive,’ can you imagine? How many people would take that and how much impact it would it would have on Mr Mwenda’s family? So, we have to be responsible, we are public figures, not that we are super human beings, we all get through these conditions and when we do, it’s just important that the general public gets to know,” said Kampyongo during Hot FM’s breakfast show, Friday, morning.
But Mwiinga urged Kampyongo to desist from mocking people who are taking ARVs.
“It is our responsibility, as NAC, to facilitate removal of barriers of stigma and discrimination against individuals suspected to be HIV positive or taking Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) drugs. No one must poke fun of people on ARVs or living with the virus as doing so is a gross violation of one’s fundamental right and freedom to health services,” said Mwiinga in a brief interview.