Global Resources

"You Don't Belong Here": Fear, Blame and Shame Around HIV & AIDS, Report from the VSO-RAISA Regional Conference, Pretoria, South Africa, October 2005

Publisher: Voluntary Services Overseas
Publication Date: Oct 2005
In October 2005, delegates from 10 countries gathered in Pretoria, South Africa, for a three-day VSO-RAISA regional conference on tackling the stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV and AIDS. That men and women experience stigma differently was widely documented by the conference participants. This is largely because of the fact that male sexual behaviour is generally condoned while the behaviour of women is judged. Yet one delegate noted that men are sometimes seen as the perpetrators of HIV infections and women as the victims. It was also noted that the media can shape attitudes towards HIV positive women and men. Some media depictions reduce all people living with HIV/AIDS to an image of a poor black woman. In other cases, men living with HIV/AIDS are portrayed as celebrities while women are seen as victims; and there is sometimes an overemphasis on young girls to the exclusion of boys and men, while gay and lesbian youth are ignored. This report of the conference contains summaries of the presentations made, including those on gender discrimination, and highlights the issues arising from the discussions.