Aniz - ‘We have the right to access health services’

24 July 2020

LGBTIQ activist Aniz Mitha talks about his experience of accessing healthcare services as a gay, HIV-positive sex worker in Malawi.

Aniz - ‘We have rights to access health services just as any other human being.’

Being gay, HIV-positive and Muslim, Aniz faced a lot of challenges and struggled to gain acceptance from his family. After being rejected by them, he felt unable to share his HIV status with anyone.

In addition to this, Aniz has struggled to access healthcare services in Malawi. There have been times when healthcare professionals have made stigmatising comments about his sexuality, and when he encountered difficulties getting his HIV medication.

It was hard for me to access the services at the hospital because I felt discriminated for my sexual orientation.

Aniz believes that some healthcare professionals think they are breaking the law when supporting LGBTIQ people. His interview ends with a strong statement:

We have rights to access health because that’s what each and every human being is supposed to get.

In Malawi, homosexuality and sex work are both criminalised. This creates a hostile environment for men who have sex with men and sex workers, making them more vulnerable to HIV and less able to access HIV services, for fear of discrimination and stigma. Access to healthcare, including HIV services, is a fundamental human right. People also have a right to equal treatment before the law and a right to dignity.

About the author

This interview was conducted by Dunker Kamba, a citizen journalist from Malawi.

Video edits by Julia Dotras.

Stories for Change

‘Stories for Change’ is a series of real-life stories of stigma and discrimination, developed in collaboration with citizen journalists from Malawi, Zambia and Eswatini.

Find more stories here.