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You, Me & HIV - Pakistan

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Story context

Rizwana became infected with HIV through an unsafe blood transfusion, as the blood she received was not tested for HIV. Unfortunately in Pakistan and many other countries around the world, the safety of donated blood supplies is an issue – and blood transfusions remain a common transmission route for HIV. In the last financial year, Pakistan has reduced the spending budget for HIV prevention, which has also led to a significant reduction in the blood safety budget. 1 Many people in need of blood have life threatening conditions, and so much receive a transfusion despite the risk of HIV infection.

Like many other people living with HIV around the world, Rizwana has faced stigma and discrimination from the people closest to her. It can be very difficult for people to come to terms with living with HIV, especially in the absence of support from their family and friends – the very people they are most afraid of disclosing their status to. Sometimes family and friends can even find it more difficult than the person living with HIV themselves to come to terms with the diagnosis.

Rizwana’s family have distanced themselves from her and her son Farooq, due to a lack of knowledge about how HIV can be transmitted. This is often the root cause of the stigma and discrimination faced by the person living with HIV.

Empowering yourself and those around you with knowledge is important in the fight against stigma. Take a look at our resources section, and share the knowledge!

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