A newly trained Treatment Advocate (TA) contributes in ending stigma and discrimination

Pili Juma Umande is an adolescence girl born with HIV positive mother Mrs. Aisha Ilunde 19 years ago, at Kitete Hospital Tabora Region, Pili is the fourth  among five children of Mr. Juma Umande and Mrs. Aisha.

Since her young age, she was enrolled on ARV with her mother, and her mother made sure she accessed ART services. When she was 11 years old her mother told her that she takes the medicine daily  because she was born HIV positive, this  information shocked her but her mother comforted her by explaining that there is no difference between People Living with HIV and others because ARV she uses will help her to survive without frequent health problems. She was also told to ignore people who beliefs that People Living with HIV their life is so short.

In early 2020 Pili was engaged with Mr Ramadhan Shaibu who wanted to marry her. Mr Ramadhani’s HIV status is negative and he knew Pili’s HIV status. They begun having problems when his relatives told him that if he marries a HIV positive woman he will also be be infected with HIV and die.

Ramadhan’s relatives harassed Pili with insults and they took her CTC card and displayed it to many people to see in order to make his relatives and community around not to accept Pili.

“Even though my parents and other siblings wanted me not to marry her because of her HIV status, myself I will not stop loving her because first time I met her she told me her HIV status, if she was another girl, she would hide me her HIV status, she gave me enough knowledge about living with HIV, we went for HIV testing, good enough her HIV result detected negative because her Viral load was under 5 copies as you see now, we are couple and blessed with one girl child”… says Ramadhani Shaibu

Because Pili was trained as Treatment Advocate (TA) through Hebu Tuyajenge project she used that opportunity to provide awareness and HIV education to those people harassing and stigmatizing her including Ramadhan’s relatives, also she reported the case to Tabora Municipal Council PLHIV cluster where they arranged with Isevya Ward and were authorized for community meeting to provide HIV awareness.Through that meeting Pili and other Treatment advocates provided testimonies and HIV/AIDS education to community members, and among them were persuaded and referred for HIV testing among ten people (Male 4 Female 6) refered for HIV testing through that meeting 3 (Male 1 Female 2) were diagnosed HIV positive and currently they are under Pili’s supervision in relation to ART service utilization.

Pili and Ramadhan successfully to got married and now have one girl child who is HIV negative and she is doing very well, but also stigma has decreased significantly from neighbours and from Ramadhan’s relatives.

“Through Hebu Tuyajenge training I received as Treatment Advocate in Shinyanga last year gave me more confidence to fight against stigma and discrimination faced me, also I took it as a success to my new work as Treatment advocate because though this scenario a lot of people especially adoscent girls look for me to give them HIV/AID knowledge”… says Pili Juma Umande

Picture of Pili doing her daily work

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