Faizel Patel – 30/06/2020
A TB HIV Care communications manager has told Radio Islam, information about COVID-19 that is being received and circulated must be accurate and verified.
COVID-19 patients are struggling with the same stigma and discrimination that were rife during the early days of the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Many South Africans have related horror-stories about how they were suddenly treated with disdain or even fear after they admitted to having tested positive for Covid-19.
TB HIV Care communications manager Alison Best says if a person has been tested positive for COVID-19, it must been communicated so there is no misinformation.
“Another thing that really helps is if people who have been through the illness can speak out and share their stories because it helps people understand that it can happen to anyone, that they are not alone and that it’s possible to recover. In fact vast majority of people do recover.”
Best says everyone can play a role in combating the stigmatization associated with COVID-19.
“The first would be to be mindful of what you are circulating or saying and that it can be trusted withy people’s lives. The second thing is to be kind. You must observe the measures you are being advised to, such as washing, sanitizing your hands regularly, wearing your mask, keeping a physical distance and staying home if you are sick.”
Best says if people know some who is infected with COVID-19, they can offer support and comfort to the infected individual, which may also dismantle the stigmatization associated with the pandemic.
Listen to the interview with Alison Best