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Mixed Reactions as Clan Leaders Resolve to Disclose HIV Status of Dead Relatives

According to Aguti, she quit the relationship after it turned abusive with five children. She however, says she suffered total rejection when she returned to her parents fearing that she could infect them.

Audio 4

The move by Lango clan leaders to start disclosing the status of their clan members who have succumbed to Aids has drawn mixed reactions.    

In September 2019, sections of the media reported that Lango clan leaders had resolved to start disclosing the HIV status of their dead relatives so as to contain the transmission of the deadly virus.  

Although it is unclear whether the clan leaders have started implementing the resolution, critics say such a move exposes the family affected by HIV to stigma and discrimination. 

One of such people is Anna Aguti, a resident of Anai Wigweng Village, Ani Parishin Lira Sub-county in Lira District who was forced to marry at 14-years of age.  

According to Aguti, she quit the relationship after it turned abusive with five children. She however, says she suffered total rejection when she returned to her parents fearing that she could infect them.  

Luo byte,  

//Cue in: “Peki na dong…

Cue out… pe oyella kiti.”//   

Like Aguti, often, people living with HIV suffer stigma and discrimination after disclosing their HIV status. 53-year-old Lestina Abia is aware of the challenges that come with the disclosure of one’s HIV status.

She says her life changed the very moment she discovered she was positive because everyone neglected her due to her status. 

Patrick Abal, a resident of Amolatar town council and head of Arak Ongoda clan, says their culture is very sensitive about making statements about the dead. 

He says announcing the status of the dead is being insensitive to the feelings of their relatives and survivors, saying it may give rise to stigma. 

Abal advises his fellow cultural leaders to let the medics handle the life history and especially if they have the death certificate, the medics can read it to the mourners.

James Ocen, the head of Okarowok Atar clan and a clinical officer agrees that people’s wishes need to be respected whether dead or alive. He says disclosing their status without their consent is very bad.

He however says disclosure of HIV status supports risk reduction and facilitates access to prevention and care services but can be inhibited by the fear of negative repercussions.

Benson Dila, the head of Orupo Dago Anywar Clan in Oyam District is one of those who have implemented the resolution, saying it’s another means of sensitization.

Eng byte  

//Cue in…….”to me it is in practice.

Cue out…… protect others”//

Eunice Epila, a clinical supervisor at AIDs Information Centre regional clinic in Lira Town believes that disclosing the HIV status of dead people is a mere waste of time.

//Cue in: “They are misguided…

Cue out… not managed well.”//  

Across 19 countries one in five people living with HIV avoided going to a clinic or hospital because they feared stigma or discrimination related to their HIV status, according to a report by UNAIDS published in October 2017.