Dismissed for HIV?

This should never happen. No teacher should ever be dismissed for having HIV. Report to your DEO if this happens to you. For your part, if you are a teacher with HIV/AIDS, live positively. Seek medical advice from a doctor, so that you stay healthy and fulfil your teaching role. Daily Septrin is a must.

Vol. 7 No. 1 February 2008

Some schools do not treat teachers with HIV/AIDS with dignity. Yet about 9000 primary teachers are living with HIV Their service is . needed. Also, they can become leaders against HIV/AIDS in their schools. Here is the story of Proscovia Ayo, 43, currently a TASO volunteer. "I am a mother of four. I was head teacher in a Tororo primary school. Years back, I lost my husband. Eventually I started falling sick. I tested in 1997 and turned out to have HIV .

Is your school HIV/AIDS friendly ?

The community suspected. When I opened up, they became hostile. I was locked out of my office and denied my job. I have been on ARVs since 2003. When I took my case to the district authorities nothing was done, so I went to the Ministry. I am still waiting to be deployed."

Communities react against teachers with HIV because they fear and do not understand it. Read about the harmful impact of stigma on P2.
Are you a teacher in a situation like Proscovia's? Do you have teachers in your school who are HIV positive? Do you talk about them behind their backs or do you take on their lessons when they are ill? Read this Teacher Talk and discuss it in a staff meeting. Are you managing HIV well in your school?

The MoES and NGOs offer training in HIV, life skills, gender and sexuality under programmes like PIASCY. If you receive such a training, take part enthusiastically and implement what you learn at your school. Here Mayuge teachers do group work at a Straight Talk sensitisation in Lugolole PS.

Respect teachers with HIV says MoES ,
Aggrey David Kibenge, Principal Assistant Secretary and Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Education and Sports says: "The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) condemns stigmatizing teachers, support staff or pupils with HIV It is . striving to make schools HIV/AIDS-friendly. An HIV/AIDS-friendly school is one where the environment enables information on HIV/AIDS to be passed on to the pupils and community around. It is a school where teachers and pupils with HIV are not discriminated against but enjoy the same opportunities as the rest. It has determined leadership. The MoES encourages a Whole School Approach to deal with HIV/AIDS. This means that everyone -- administrators, parents, headteachers, teachers, the School Management Committee, community and partners like NGOs -- are united in managing the complex issues that this epidemic raises for us. The single most important resource in this is you, the teacher. You and your conviction -- and not the sacks of money people want to work on HIV -are what matters. We ask you to become an HIVcompetent teacher who is able to help pupils understand HIV/AIDS. You cannot have quality learning when the teacher knows little and is not confident.

Teachers are many and powerful: by January 2008 we had 146,964 teachers on the government pay roll of whom 127,121 teach at primary school level. This is 50% of the entire public service of about 250,000. Through education we reach about ten million people, including seven million pupils. This is a third of Uganda's population. There is a lot we can do."

Concerned headteacher: set an example and reduce stigma by taking time to talk to teachers with HIV/AIDS.

2 Teacher Talk, February 2008

What is Stigma?
Stigma is the greatest challenge to slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Stigma has many definitions. To stigmatise is to label a person as inferior because of an attribute that they have, such as being infected with HIV A person . who is stigmatised is reduced from being a whole and normal person to a person who is marked with a "spoilt identity". HIV has stigma because we fear infection and death. We may also be ignorant about how HIV is transmitted. Sometimes we wrongly judge those with HIV as sinners, womanisers or prostitutes. Stigma creates conditions that fuel the spread of HIV . It prevents people from testing, going for PMTCT (prevention of mother to

Stigma: the biggest challenge in HIV
are usually more stigmatized than men. Stigma creates a situation of "us and them". Fear of being identified with HIV creates a society where people are unwilling to learn or disclose their HIV status, reluctant to change their unsafe behavior, unwilling to take care of their sick relatives and unable to get treatment and live positively. Stigma has terrible results: denial, shame, loneliness, depression, anger, self-pity, alcoholism, family quarrels... People actually die because of stigma. A preventable death is not prevented because of stigma. At the bottom of the page read the beautiful story of how Budo Junior is working to defeat stigma. Your school can defeat it too.

child transmission) or getting HIV care like TB treatment or ARVs. Stigma intensifies the suffering of

people living with HIV and their families. Stigma is shown in the way we talk and treat people,

such as name calling, teasing, making them look foolish, isolating, blaming or neglecting. Women with HIV

Stigma can stop you from testing. You imagine consequences, such as people pointing at you if you are positive. So you do not know your HIV status, and your health worsens.

Stigma can make you hesitate to tell your spouse that you have HIV. So you have unprotected sex and HIV spreads to your partner and unborn children. Also, you have to hide your medicine and cannot live positively.

The main way we stigmatise is with words and body language. Often we do not realise that we sigmatise others. Stigma creates a pool of people with HIV who feel they must hide their status. One of those people could be your next sexual partner.

Budo Junior not afraid of HIV
Budo Junior School has inspirational, practices to manage stigma. Teacher Talk talked to headteacher, Kayongo William Sebuliba. "Before each lesson we have a PIASCY minute. We ask pupils to reflect. We say: 'Close your eyes and look at yourself as an orphan. What do you see?' Or we say: 'We are all street children. How do you feel?'
This develops empathy (putting yourself in the shoes of someone else. The whole school is now a talking place with a talking office, talking staff room, talking compound. We regularly change the PIASCY messages in the classroom. We have a friendly way with people with HIV/AIDS which has made acceptance easy. We have had almost 30 known pupils with HIV We have . about 150 children who have lost either one or both parents. There is not only stigma with HIV but also, for example, tribe. We have a child who is an albino. We helped pupils to accept him. It helped to illustrate discrimination. We encourage teachers to test for HIV Those who are . negative are encouraged to share the load with those who are sick or going for ARVs. During evening prayers in dormitories, children pray for the sick and those who lost parents to HIV Sometimes we . call experts from TASO and Christ the King."

Challenges of stigma
“There is a lot of stigma here. If the community learns that a teacher has HIV they will work hard to , cause that teacher to be transferred. Some parents will take their children to other schools to avoid infected teachers ,” David Aluma, Lomuga PS, Yumbe “Some children in our school were born with HIV . Their guardians are not open about it. A teacher goes to their home to talk to their guardians so that they can access services but the guardians will just abuse the teacher,” Beatrice Tabu, East Alip PS

Teacher Talk, February 2008

3

Make your school competent in HIV/AIDS
HIV-focused school events
“We use our musical shows, drama and sports events to pass HIV/AIDS messages to the public. We call the community around to attend. It is a very powerful way of passing a message yet very entertaining,” Bako Josephine, Lomuga PS

Teacher Talk visited Yumbe to discover how teachers were managing HIV/AIDS. We found good practices.

HIV positive teachers as role models
“We have a teacher with HIV It was difficult for him . to accept his status but we encouraged him to be open and to take his ARVs. Today he is very happy and lives positively. He is an encouragement to us all.” Abuko Jacqueline, Acholi PS

Talking compounds Integrating HIV/ AIDS in lessons
Do you teach English? How about asking your pupils to write stories about HIV Are . you an art teacher. How about asking your pupils to draw pictures of how HIV/ AIDS affects them? Science teachers could talk about transmission while the maths teachers can give the figures of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Teachers gather in support of HIV-positive colleague
“We had a teacher who had HIV and was facing stigma from other teachers. I called a meeting and advised the staff to support and show him love, Sunlight Safi, Acholi PS

“Messages about prevention of HIV/AIDS are put in our compound, classrooms and in the office to remind the pupils and the teachers that AIDS is still with us and we need to stay safe,” Elly Vincent Acidri, Geya PS

Every teacher is a counselor Get a teacher in charge of PIASCY

“I counsel pupils when they have problems including those affected or infected with HIV Sometimes we organize . for Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) but teachers and pupils avoid it because they fear to find out the truth and to be stigmatized,” Ajidiru Florence, Barakala PS.

Protecting pupils against sexual assault
“Encouraging pupils to walk in groups helps them stay safe. We tell them there is safety in walking in a group. These groups are also called safety friends. A person who wants to attack a child who is in a group will fear that the others would recognize and report him.” Dawa Zainab, Geya PS

Dawa Zainab

“We have a teacher who is in charge of issues that are related to HIV/AIDS and PIASCY. She also does First Aid,” Rev Stephen Agaale, Iyolo PS

• Encourage every teacher to test for HIV . • Change your attitude: avoid stigma against teachers/pupils with HIV . • Have a trained counselor in HIV not

Is your school HIV literate? Here are more ideas
just the general guidance and counseling taught at teachers’ colleges. •Have First Aid boxes with Septrin for those who forget to take theirs at home. • Have fully functional AIDS clubs in schools. • Have a Teachers AntiAIDS Action Group (TAAG). • Teachers who have already tested HIV positive be exemplary by living positively, adhering to ARVS and helping others protect themselves. • Have a school wellness programme which includes positive life skills, meals and safe drinking water and regular medical check ups. By Proscovia

Ayo, Teacher living with HIV, currently a volunteer with TASO, Soroti

4

Teacher Talk, febraury 2008

Testing for HIV: advisable for every teacher
Four-fifths of Ugandans living with HIV do not know that they have the virus. Unknown to themselves, they are in the process of infecting their sexual partner and their unborn children. Teachers, if you do not know your HIV status, it is Ministry of Education policy to encourage you to test. Under its Education Sector Workplace Policy Implementation (ESWAPI) project, over 4000 teachers have tested for HIV This is . a good start.

In Uganda 79% of people with HIV do not know that they are infected. Almost all of these infected people are sexually active, most of them with their spouse.

• As an individual, you are not overloaded with the need to tell your results to your partner and convince your partner to be tested. •If you are both negative, you can re- commit to being faithful. •Couple counseling helps you to cooperate with each other, for example, on using condoms if one of you is positive. •When you get your results together, the negative person can more easily support the positive person to take daily medications like Septrin or ARVs. •If you are both positive, you can plan together to stay strong. Most steady couples who have different test results stay together. Less than 5% separate or have serious stress. The counselor can help you cope.

Discordance
As a teacher, you can be living in ways that you think are safe. For example, you might be faithful to your partner who is also faithful to you. The problem is that many people have HIV from previous relationships when they marry. You can live as a couple with one of you being positive and one of you being negative for many years. Such a situation is very common. It is called: discordance. Almost 60% of people with HIV who are in partnerships have partners that are HIV negative. These negative partners urgently need to be protected.

Couple testing needs to be at the heart of your relationships. A positive partner may have become infected over ten years ago, long before marriage to their current partner. body; the presence of other STDs; how often they have sex; and chance or luck. that of your partner. It is best because: •Partners hear the same information together. •This increases the chance of shared understanding.

Unmarried teachers
If you are not yet married, couple counseling with your future partner is also needed, even if you have already been sleeping together. Until you test together, always use a condom when you have sex.

Testing as a couple
Couple testing is the best way to know your own HIV status and

Testing alone
Testing is better than no testing. But it can lead you to make assumptions about your partner. For example, a man may assume that he is negative because his wife tests negative in the antenatal clinic. But in fact that man could easily be positive and has simply not yet infected his wife. How long an HIV positive person takes to infect his or her partner depends mostly on: how much virus is in the

HIV transmission in one family
This couple married when the man was positive. The wife stayed negative for many years and had her first born when she was negative. By the time she had her second born, she was positive but the baby was negative. Her third child was born HIV positive. In this family of five people, three are now positive. (The darkness shows the viral load BUT it does not start from the legs. HIV is in all body fluids.)

Sexuality is beautiful so condoms are too
Sexuality is a central part of being human. It is how we feel and who we are. If we want to deal with HIV we need , to take sexuality seriously. This includes love, reproduction, pleasure and closeness. Sexuality does not always mean intercourse. But if you do have penetrative sex, you need to make it safe and enjoyable. Almost all HIV infections are connected to sex. Examine your life. Is the risk of HIV inside or outside your bedroom? If you are in any doubt, make Proscovia Ayo: condom at ease with use your condoms priority. Teachers of Bugwagi PS Sironko enjoy Teacher Talk.

Use condoms if:

• you and your partner have not tested together. • you are married to one person but your partner may have other sexual partners. • you are in a polygamous marriage and do not trust one of the partners. • you and your partner are discordant (one positive, one negative). • you do not want to get pregnant. • you have more than one sexual partner.

I teach in a school with former street children who are old for their classes. They were planning to give up studies but with guidance they are still with us. Teachers, let's give light to the young and encourage parents and guardians to talk to them. C Okumu, Revival PS, Matugga I advise headteachers to cooperate with teachers. Many exclude teachers from decisions, are harsh and take them as inferior people. Please, headteachers, if you do this, change

Your letters

your attitude. Temba D, Kashekye PS, Kabale Teachers, implement PIASCY. It gives hope to tomorrow's generation. Send me Teacher Talk! Mawanda R, Teacher, Rakai Aids Orphans Project

Teachers! Write in to PO Box 22366 ll us: Kampala and ten absent
• Why are teachers ofte from work? y are • What happens when the absent? reduce • What can be done to absenteeism?

Condoms are not immoral. With thanks to Dr Nafuna Wamai, CDC/UVRI

Win a T-shirt.

Teacher Talk promotes the Presidential Initiative on AIDS Strategy for Communication to Youth (PIASCY)

Publisher STRAIGHT TALK FOUNDATION 4 Acacia Avenue, Kamwokya, P O. Box 22366, Tel: 03122622031 Kampala (U), . Fax: 534858, E-mail: strtalk@imul.com, strtalk@straight-talk.or ug, Web: www.straight-talk.or.ug Director: C Watson, Deputy Director: T Agutu, Editorial Manager: E Kimuli Editors: G Awekofua, M Akello, Writer: J Abongowath, Designers: Gb Mukasa, M Kalanzi, Printer: The New Vision, Photographer: W Sanya, Funded by USAID

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful