Apr 27, 2007

Dealing with HIV/AIDS-related stigma

Stigma and metaphors built around HIV/AIDS have drawn academic and public interest. Particularly interesting is that the severity of the AIDS pandemic has transformed our lives profoundly, and that stigma experienced by persons living with the disease has grave consequences for public health efforts. Stigma constitutes prejudice, discrimination, categorisation, differentiation, and stereotyping. The phobia and metaphorical references attached to HIV/AIDS marshal fear, isolation and shame. Powerful metaphors have been mobilised around HIV/AIDS to reinforce stigmatisation. The word plague, for example,(derived from the Latin form plaga for collective calamity) is the principal metaphor by which the epidemic has come to be known in modern society. This conception of the disease contributes to the resonance of the inexorability and inescapability of HIV-infection. It also produces laxity on individual protection. Such thinking has been fostered by some religious leaders who have come to see the presence of HIV/AIDS as a fulfilment of apocalyptic prophecy. A sign for the end of time and a general punishment for immorality! The conception of suffering from HIV/AIDS as a consequence of immorality leads to the view of the epidemic as a disease of others and thus leads to the rejection and discrimination of those suffering from it. Getting the HI-virus is regarded as a wilful act that deserves punishment.

Another conjecture that has often come with HIV-related stigma is the popular discourse which equates testing HIV-positive to having AIDS yet testing positive points to the presence not of the HI-virus per se but of the antibodies to the virus. Nonetheless, this perception is so strong that once a person is diagnosed HIV-positive, people often see the person as “already dead!” While death may be inevitable for a person living with HIV/AIDS, it is often quickened by the landscape of “social terror” that produces anxiety and stress for sufferers. Metaphors kill because they make people to be irrationally fearful of even effective measures and foster credence in virtually useless remedies such as sleeping with virgins as a cure for HIV/AIDS as some reports say in South Africa. In light of the above, I want to argue that the mystifications and metaphoric trappings that have been built around HIV/AIDS have produced a profound impact on social and moral responses to the epidemic. It is, therefore, important for public health practitioners to deal with stigma because it is one of the greatest barriers to HIV/AIDS disclosure.


Thomas Blaser said...

For this reason I can appreciate the Sunday Times campaign in which HIV positive people tell openly about their experience. I don't know of any one in my close circle for friends and relatives being HIV positive and yet, given the statistics, there might be a high chance that someone is...

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

HIV/AIDS....it is a subject that is still taboo, particularly amongst black people. In my country, a lot of people prefer not to acknowledge it. If someone dies and no one understands or wants to be truthful about the cause of death, it is usually attributed to 'witchcraft' or 'muti'. No one dies of natural causes, naturally. I participated in an AIDS awareness programme at Wits, by some American college students and their professor last year. It was a very elementary course on how to teach illiterate and semi-illiterate persons about aids.

I met a couple of young ladies from the TAC, all HIV positive. It was such an eye-opener and a lesson in life, to inter-act with these women and watch how brave and focused they were. I was proud to be learning alongside them. We need to learn as much as we can about the disease so as not to be terrified by it. We should not be complacent. But I imagine if you have not been touched by it, one can pretend it does not exist.

Valentin said...

Mbuso, what do you think is missing the most in the fight against HIV/AIDS?
Is it media coverage on that issue, education, medical resources, counselling. I am interested to see what you think. Also, read one of Bruce's posts-he talks moreless about the same problem.

mbuso said...

I must thank Ij, Thomas and Valentin for commenting on my blogspot especially on HIV/AIDS and stigma in South Africa. As of Valentin's question, the South African society is still a long way in accepting HIV and AIDS as reality. What is most problematic is that we have different cultures and different explanations to disease causation. The presence of HIV itself is subject to varied interpretations. For example, as I say in the article, some people see the disease as punishment from God for immorality, whereas others, Africans in particular, tend to explain HIV infection as a manifestation of witchcraft. Given the influence of all these, HIV-related stigma will remain pervasive. In fact, stigma is grounded in popular perceptions which tend to negate the ways in which society responds to diseases.
Moreso, HIV to Africans mostly, relates to sexual intercourse, and it is not always easy for some people to talk about sex. Sex is an arcane world. We would rather talk about it in hashed voices.
All these feed into existing problems of fighting stigma.
There are ways, however, in which people can fight HIV-related stigma. I have said in the article that most of the stigma in due to ignorance and fear hence there is need to educate people about its dangers and about real facts on HIV/AIDS ITSELF. The duty is to devise strategies on how we put messages across so that even those skeptical of scientific knowledge come to believe.

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apostle said...


is being proven by the more than 400 individuals who have taken a dose of 60 ml three times daily for 21 days. The result is that AMBUSH 'KILLS' the virus by causing the protein envelope to rupture and the viral particles are discarded by the white blood cells. AMBUSH is able to 'KILL' the virus that are 'hiding' in the lymph system by its 'natural radioactive' properties. This process allows the body to 'return to normal health' with a corresponding immunity to that or those strains of the virus.

What is AMBUSH ?
AMBUSH is a radioactive isotope of uranium that is found in the 'palm' plant of which there are more than 3000 species. When ingested, AMBUSH causes the body temperature in the trunk area to rise to about 102 degrees when the individual is sleeping. The preparation takes four hours per batch, which is then given to the individuals for consumption 60 ml three times daily for 21 days. AMBUSH is a herbal preparation in this form but it contains an active ingredient which is a 'NEW' crystalline substance, a drug from the 'palm plant' similarly to ASPIRIN originating from the willow tree bark

After 21 days on AMBUSH, ALL the individuals experienced a decrease in viral load to undetectable, an increase in cd4, increase in RBC, an improvement in general health such as more color to the face, decrease in Buffalo hump, an increase in gluteal muscles, a decrease to having no joint pains whereby individuals can bend to touch their toes, and walk up steps are but a few examples. There is also a dramatic increase in their sexual appetite beginning after the first week of therapy

In any plant concoction such as percolated 'tea', there are 30-40,000 compounds, whi ch would take the scientific community twenty years to isolate one particular ingredient if they knew what they were looking for. The LORD GOD has given me seven steps to isolate the active ingredient, which is soft and metallic in nature and has a carbon- uranium-sulfur-(classified)-phentolamine configuration or structure. This is similar to Federick Kekule and the discovery of the benzene ring where he dreamt the structure.

As an antiviral and 'natural radioactivity' producing agent, AMBUSH is also effective against leukemia, lupus and HPV. Here I am saying that I have 'GIVEN' AMBUSH in the same 'strength' and dosage to patients with leukemia, lupus and HPV. A 35 year old male with HIV found it difficult to impossible to urinate was put on 'green tea' and water while the doctors contemplated prostrate surgery. One of the doctors gave him my number , I sent him a supply of AMBUSH an d he has not been given any more ARV's, since taking AMBUSH 18 months ago, is in 'good' health and has expressed a willingness to be examined by HIV investigators like many others who have taken AMBUSH.

I have sent this 'IDEA' to most HIV research agencies, scientist of the field, universities, hospitals, clinics, politicians and news agencies to which it is REJECTED because the name of THE LORD GOD is mentioned. He has steered me scientifically through the processes such as which plant and how to produce the active ingredient. What are the odds of a Florida Pharmacist picking a plant would contain the CURE for HIV/AIDS ?
I have never charged any of the people for their supply of AMBUSH but a life saving has been spent on the project with NO renumeration from any sources because AMBUSH falls outside the walls of modern medicine and research.


My proposal is that I PROVE that AMBUSH CURES HIV/AIDS by giving it to a number of END-STAGE or DRUG-RESISTANT people and the scientific community watches their recovery. This proposal addresses the problem in that I have already outlaid the results to be obtained.

This IDEA is unconventional in that the scientific community has rejected AMBUSH because I say it is GOD given. Secondly if I wrote it according to certain standards, then it might be peer reviewed. However, THE LORD GOD has also shown me that there are five enzyme systems associated with the virus, reverse transcriptase, protease, fusion and two more of which causes the virus to be AIRBOURNE. This means that without DIVINE intervention mankind and ALL warm- blooded mammals will be extinct in a number of years.

The PROOF of what I am saying is found in scientific papers wherein it is found that when the protease cuts the viral strands, it cuts it at DIFFERENT lengths EVERY time, to which it should always be a valine at the end but is a different amino acid every time. This is why it is IMPOSSIBLE to produce a VACCINE.

Since this is NOT a hypothesis but there are about 400 individuals who have taken AMBUSH, here lies a vast area in which to check, recheck and confirm that AMBUSH CURES AIDS. Let it be mentioned that during the HIV reproductive cycle, reverse transcriptase converts viral RNA into DNA compatible to human genetic materials. Thus the human DNA has been 'hijacked' and since each person has a DIFFERENT DNA, then the new viral copy is unique to that person which shows that each individual has a DIFFERENT STRAIN of the virus. Consider two HIV positive people swapping viral strains and increasing its complexity with multiple partners.
It can also be proposed that they be revisited as proof that the strain or strains that they had were 'killed' at the time of taking AMBUSH considering that a person can catch as many different strains as there are people who are infected by HIV.
I am also willing to work with the scientific community in identifying those individuals who took AMBUSH and wish to be identified with this process notwithstanding that some are stigmatized while others are jubilant,

Once AMBUSH is verified as being able to accomplish that which is aforementioned then the next stage might be the natural and artificial synthesis of the substance.

Finally, if this is accepted or not, believed or not, THE LORD GOD always wins and this is the heavenly truth to which AMBUSH was divinely given to mankind for the CURE of HIV/AIDS and it will be here forever. Apostle Shada Mishe.


Here is a video taped presentation that I gave at t he Martin Luther King library in Washington