People living with HIV/AIDS have vehemently condemned all forms of stigmatization saying such tendencies frustrate efforts and initiatives erected to fight the scourge in Uganda.
These that were visibly bitter were speaking in reaction and in defense of Edwin Katamba, a popular Mc, media personality and music show presenter on a local Television station better known as MC Kats who recently went public about his HIV/AIDS status revealing that he was HIV positive.
MC Kats’ revelation triggered mixed reactions from the public with some attacking and demonizing him for being HIV positive. Among the reactions was the article carried by the local tabloid [Red Pepper] that authored an article showing that his revelation had sent shock waves into the public.
While addressing journalists on Tuesday in Kampala this week, Ms Beatrice Were, an HIV activist took a swipe at one local tabloid paper for what she called media ignorance.
“I think this is a very ignorant reporter and I do not care who they are. The media needs to know that much as they are a powerful community, we are powerful too. We are powerful because we took a bold step and stand up to be counted. And above all because we have confronted stigma,” Ms Were said.
“I know people are going to say that we are looking for sympathy and taking advantage of the situation but we need to stand with this young man [MC Kats],” she added.
Ms Were said the backlash on MC Kats was inhumane and urged persons and all organizations involved in the fight against the scourge to scale up their efforts to end such tendencies.
“Gone are the days when we attached HIV/AIDS to immorality. I therefore want to call upon human rights organizations to be more robust than they have ever been” Ms Were said.
Major(retired) Rubaramira Ruranga said it was disappointing that such tendencies were still seen in the present times when people are expected to be understanding and therefore fighting the scourge.
“We would have expected especially the media, which is the fourth estate to understand this problem. Not to condemn anyone because this is a disease. Are we trying to stop the spread of this disease by condemning an individual who has it?” Major Rubaramira said.
He therefore asked persons whose efforts are projected towards fighting disease not to be cowed by what he called fools not to quit.
“If there are fools out there who are going to abuse us, let me them do but we need to remain strong and formidable because we know that HIV can be fought,” Major Rubaramira said.
Last week, media personality and presenter on a local TV station, Mr Edwin Katamba alias MC Kats went public about his HIV/AIDS status by revealing that he was positive and already on medication.