While antiretroviral (ARV) treatment is not a cure for HIV, these pills can reduce the amount of virus living in the body of a person living with HIV. On this week’s episode of Sister’s Without Shame, women’s health activist Lucy Khofi unpacks the triggers behind defaulting HIV treatment in Mzansi, as the globe marks World Aids Day.
According to Khofi, the burden of HIV is disproportionately higher among women of reproductive age. ARV drugs don’t cure HIV, but they can reduce the amount of virus in the body of someone living with HIV. This keeps the immune system strong enough to fight off disease.
Under no circumstances should you default medication over fear of social stigmas.
“When you are not taking your medication, you are compromising your health. Do not compromise your health, take your ARVs. Do not play with your life. Not in 2022.”
Khofi is also the founder of the Women’s Health Ekklēsia NPO, an organisation that tackles the reproductive realities and advocates for justice while uplifting, empowering, and educating people.
“When it comes to HIV and stigma, it is heartbreaking that in the year 2022 we are still dealing with the same stigma that we were dealing with years ago,” she says.
“We still have resistance from society. There are still people who are discriminating against people who are living with HIV.”
‘Do not disclose the status of another’
In Mzansi, everyone is entitled to legal protections for confidential information, such as your HIV status and other medical information.
If it is not your status, refrain from disclosing other people’s status without their consent or you may face legal action, says Khofi.
“People with HIV have the right to live their lives with respect, dignity and freedom from discrimination and blame.
“You have no right to go and tell people about someone’s status. It is very confidential, deeply personal information. The person you have outed can actually take legal action against you because this is their confidential health status.”
On this episode Khofi also tackles the following:
- Why it is important to go for regular HIV testing when you are sexually active.
- The state of sexual education in Mzansi.
- Knowing your rights and access to HIV treatment.
Listen to the full interview on Sisters Without Shame
Apple Podcasts: Click here to listen on any Apple device.
Google Podcasts: Click here to listen on Google Podcast.
Want to connect with Sisters Without shame?
To send an SOS to Sisters Without Shame, email hello@healthformzansi. Alternatively, send a WhatsApp to 076 132 0454.
Get the Health For Mzansi newsletter: Your bi-weekly dose of kasi health, wellness and self-care inspiration.