It is emerging in our Magnet Theatre outreaches in the community that reduction of stigma and discrimination in the community is mirage. Stigma and discrimination needs a creative approach because it is affecting the fight against HIV from all angles. Giving out condoms in public is still a problem. During the outreaches young people take condoms in secrecy they don’t want to be seen by the community because the community will associate them with sexual intercourse.
Walking into a VCT centre for most young difficult because in one way or other they have had unprotected intercourse with a person of unknown STI status because of the stigma associated with free condoms given in public and buying a condom in the home shops. Most young people ask very many subspecies questions and concerns on VCT, HIV and AIDS. Why should I go for VCT while my partner is negative? There is no need for VCT while I know that am dying; in one way or another all of us will die so why waste my time going for VCT, why use a condom when we know that we are infected?
And when we carry out mobile VCT all of them who attend the sessions come out smiling and saying that they are ok. If condoms and VCT services are facing such tough stereotype at the community level what about access to reproductive health services by the youth. A good number of young people can not point out stigma and discrimination as community problem, but they acknowledge that there are some behaviors and attitudes that discriminate against people infected and infected.
In one of the magnet theatre session in Manyani the audience helped to condemn a behavior by one of the cast members acting as an HIV positive person. But with timeline a game used to elastrator the theatre process they agreed that they action against character could lead to many things including self stigma because of the enacted stigma from the community members.