Former South African President Mandela Speaks Against HIV/AIDS Stigma, Honors Late Princess Diana’s HIV/AIDS Work
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, speaking on Friday in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the annual meeting of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, "warned" that the stigma that currently surrounds HIV/AIDS, especially in African nations, could lead to the creation of isolated "AIDS villages," Reuters reports. Mandela said that HIV/AIDS stigma could "take the world backwards to the age when leprosy victims lived in segregated villages and those with diseases were shunned." He added that children who lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses should not be labeled "AIDS orphans" because they should not be treated differently than "normal" children (Esipisu, Reuters, 9/6). "Our duty is that we give people, even those with terminal (illnesses), love, support and care," Mandela said. At the meeting, Mandela also honored the late Princess Diana for her role in helping to "lif[t] the stigma" surrounding those with HIV/AIDS (South African Press Association, 9/6). Mandela "praised" Diana's courage for meeting personally with HIV-positive people, saying that people "ran away from those with AIDS until she came along." Following Diana's visits with HIV-positive individuals, "[p]eople then said: 'If a British princess goes to shake hands with people who are affected by AIDS, why should we not do so as well?,'" Mandela said, adding, "We have to continue to break that stigma" (Agence France-Presse, 9/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.