Middle school students make a formation with umbrellas in the shape of the red ribbon, the international symbol for Aids awareness before a campaign to mark World Aids Day in Seoul. Picture: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

Rustenburg – Society must wage the battle against the stigma associated with HIV/Aids which formed part of the problems in combating the pandemic, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said on Tuesday.

“Stigma sentences people living with HIV/Aids to death as if there is no treatment that can increase their days on earth by many decades. Stigma is also responsible for many who hide and do not come out so that they receive help from our health institutions because they fear to be judged and condemned,” said EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, voicing the party’s World Aids Day message.

“Most importantly and unfortunate is stigma suffered by many from companies, particularly in the insurance and financial industries. We call on these companies to stop discriminating against people living with HIV/Aids and denying them access to financial services.”

He said access to primary healthcare was also at the centre of making sure that the 21 million people who live with HIV/Aids received access to treatment, particularly in the rural and impoverished communities.

“However, above all, preventative measures are the greatest weapon to fight against more infections and ensure that we stop HIV/Aids from extending to the next generation. The EFF therefore calls on all men who have not undergone circumcision to do so as it reduces the risk of acquiring HIV/Aids infection by 60 percent.”

The EFF also called on all people to know their status by testing for HIV/Aids.

“A fighter is not a fighter unless they know their status. We call on all sexually active people to use of condoms and help end the spread of HIV/Aids…”

World Aids Day is held on December 1 each year. It raises awareness across the world and in communities about the issues surrounding HIV and Aids. It is also a day for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.

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