It has been noted that in order to fight HIV, extra efforts must be made in ensuring zero stigma and discrimination in the society is achieved. PLHIV are encouraged to disclose to their partners or to the community, their HIV status if need be. These were the general views of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in a five-days training in Morogoro which was organized by the National Council of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Tanzania (NACOPHA). The training was about project cycle and financial management and was supported by the Global Fund through African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), PLHIV alleged that stigma has a significant contribution to new infections, as the person feels weak, alone and threatened, making it hard to disclose their HIV status. This contributes significantly to accelerate the spread of HIV new infection. PLHIV have appealed to the government, organizations and institutions to involve PLHIV who have disclosed their HIV status to the community because they can be the best ambassadors in educating the society on issues concerning HIV and bring about positive behavioral change in the community. “…I have been very committed in volunteering to educate people about HIV despite many challenges I have faced. Nevertheless, people have understood me better as I am an example of a person living with HIV,” said Mr. Ansermo Mwinuka, one of the participants. In many cases PLHIV had difficulty in disclosing their HIV status, for fear of losing their customers in the petty business for those in self-employment such as Ms. Janeth Mwalyego, from Arusha. She said that once you disclose your HIV status, your customers disappear and your children labeled with funny names at home and in even at school. During the training the members were able to discuss various challenges facing them, and agreed that stigma will remain their enemy number one which affects PLHIV faster than the virus itself. They stressed that, if the fight against stigma and discrimination succeeds, then the society will come understand that HIV can be considered like any other disease. During the training, they urged those people who take advantage of donor funds for their own benefit to desist from it.
They lamented the habit of some PLHIV who are managing such funds and use abusive language when requested to be transparent and accountable was really disappointing and heart breaking. Shida Seleman from Kigoma commented that the situation poses a dilemma even for themselves within their groups especially when some members use HIV money for their own benefit. This issue was discussed by participants who complained about very little or no involvement of PLHIV in decision making or when tracking funds provided at the districts by TACAIDS and other stakeholders. “…There are times we regret being told of available funds for PLHIV, we carry out endless follow up without positive achievement and we end up by giving up...” said Mr. Dickson. The participants were impressed with the training received. It helped them understand well the means of increasing income, control expenditure and keep records for reference. NACOPHA’s CEO, Mr. Deogratius Rutatwa said, the issue of project management has been a challenge to PLHIV district clusters and networks. The training will enable them to report issues in a proper way, to manage funds and provide feedback to the districts and the community at large More than one hundred participants from PLHIV district cluster leaders and networks across the country benefited from these trainings on how to manage projects, train community, facilitators, financial management and community resource persons (CORPS).