Fiji Time: 4:47 AM on Wednesday 1 July

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

Need to stop the stigma

Tevita Vuibau
Saturday, March 01, 2014

WHEN Benjamin Christopher was first told he was HIV positive early last year, he took the news better than most would.

Not surprising considering the 26-year-old had a background in volunteering and working with sexual health programs.

And though he would briefly succumb to the self stigma that afflicts many who are HIV positive, he managed to get back on his feet and now encourages all to get tested and seek help.

His message is particularly poignant as Fiji joins the rest of the world to celebrate the first Zero Discrimination day today.

Mr Christopher says there is a need to stop the stigma against homosexuals and those living with HIV in Fiji.

"The reason that I want to come out as a HIV positive man who has sex with men (MSM) is because I know there are others out there who are afraid to come out for what they are," the FJN+ volunteer said.

"They are not alone on this road and if they need help, there are organisations like FJN+ here and I am also here to support people living with HIV."

Having personally dealt with rumours of him purposefully spreading the disease and other tall tales, Mr Christopher knows all too well the stigma attached to those in similar positions.

"Especially when you're an MSM and living with HIV, it's just double stigma and discrimination and there's still work that needs to be done to stop this.

"One thing that I would like to say is that we are all humans — no matter our sexual orientation and HIV status.

"We are still human and we should all be treated the same way."

He said the acceptance from his family played a huge role in helping him to deal with being HIV positive.





Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
JPY 59.956256.9562
GBP 0.30770.2997
EUR 0.43100.4190
CNY 3.03032.9303
NZD 0.71420.6812
AUD 0.63390.6089
USD 0.48690.4699

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 25th June 2015

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Education shocker
  2. The discovery of illegal weapons in Fiji
  3. Bainimarama challenges Flying Fijians ahead of Rugby World Cup
  4. Club sold for $14k
  5. 'Fiji Hindi humour'
  6. School leaders 'stuck with ethnicity', minister reveals
  7. Long summer
  8. Singing it the way she wants
  9. Bridge closed
  10. Growth projection

Top Stories this Week

  1. Ryder in jail Monday (29 Jun)
  2. Nude pictures warning Monday (29 Jun)
  3. $3m road scam: 3 jailed, Liwaiono gets suspended sentence Wednesday (24 Jun)
  4. Corruption claims Wednesday (24 Jun)
  5. Jail terms for trio Thursday (25 Jun)
  6. Toxic cassava Monday (29 Jun)
  7. Students robbed Wednesday (24 Jun)
  8. Insufficient funds Wednesday (24 Jun)
  9. Education shocker Tuesday (30 Jun)
  10. Botia sets his target to book a RWC spot Thursday (25 Jun)