People with HIV/AIDS in the Northeast say that the media is insensitive to the disease and hence social stigma is being attached to them .
"I have come across journalists refusing to shake hands, sat a few meters away from me, and didn't even look at my eyes during interview sessions. I always thought journalists would help in breaking the stigma," said Vanlalmuana, the president of the Positive Network of Mizoram (PNM). Vanlalmuana is living with HIV for the past six years.
AdvertisementMany others also felt like him. "Many a times we were interviewed by journalists and the next day we were written as AIDS patient. Probably many journalists don't even know the difference between HIV and AIDS," said Ratan Singh, an HIV-positive man from Manipur.
These stories were told at a workshop in Shillong organized to spread awareness about the disease. "Stigma does not really help in fighting the disease and the need is to be aware and sensitive to the problem and in the media has a major role to play," said Sawmtea, the president of the Mizoram People Living with HIV/AIDS Society.