21 stories 21 days


“We all have a story. To be able to sit here and tell my story is so good for me. It feels good.”

Every day from the 1st of July until the 21st of July we will be sharing extracts from 21 oral testimonies of 21 men and women living with HIV in Swaziland, Ethiopia and Mozambique.

We’ll share these extracts here on this blog – with daily links on twitter and facebook. On the 25th of July, our partner the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) launched a publication of these testimonies at the International AIDS conference 2014. Siobhan Warrington’s blog on IPPF’s website introduces “Stigma is still my most serious challenge”: People living with HIV share their experiences

Index of the days published so far:

The testimonies were recorded as part of the Give Stigma the Index Finger project (2011-2014) and complement the Stigma Index reports carried out in each country. The project also supported journalists in each country to improve and increase coverage on HIV stigma.

Sharing the testimonies demonstrates the lived reality of HIV stigma in all its diversity and complexity and the on-going need to address HIV stigma as part of the response to HIV. Some of those interviewed feel positive about their lives and are open about their status, whilst there are others who describe their miserable futures, or don’t feel ready to disclose to those closest to them. Some people find support within their families, others refer to their family stigmatising them more than anyone else and feel additional betrayal as a result. As well as detailed descriptions of stigma experienced, some narrators provide insights into the emotional impacts of stigma; one narrator states “the ugly words from their mouths made me feel worthless.”

In total, 140 people living with HIV in Swaziland, Ethiopia and Mozambique were able to share their experiences, memories and views freely in an open-ended interview, recorded in their own language by a counsellor or activist, with the assurance of maintaining anonymity.

“We all have a story. To be able to sit here and tell my story is so good for me. It feels good.”

This is how narrator Etetu Manyazewal*, a 24 year-old woman from Ethiopia ended her oral testimony interview. Similar positive statements emerged from a conversation with two of the interviewers from Mozambique who described oral testimony as an opportunity for “people to open up and tell you what was in the bottom of their heart”, adding, “people need this type of dialogue so they feel that they are not abandoned.”

OTW and IPPF are supporting partners to communicate these testimonies to national audiences through radio and community dialogues.

*all names shared in 21 stories 21 days are pseudonyms

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2 thoughts on “21 stories 21 days

  1. Pingback: 21 stories 21 days | Miskellany

  2. Pingback: Peel HIV/AIDS Network | #21stories21days | HIV AIDS in Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon | HIV/AIDS Service Organisation

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