THE Muslim AIDS Support Trust (MAST) is stepping up its efforts to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS alongside other diseases posing as public health threats.
By Kudakwashe Pembere recently in Mt Hampden
At a health training gathering for members of the Islam Faith on Sunday in Stapleford, Mt Hampden, it emerged that there was lack of knowledge among them on how to manage their health especially with HIV.
Imam Rasheed Naino one of the organisers his HIV/Health Education campaign from MAST said they have been doing this since 2008 but were in hibernation due to certain circumstances.
From the hiatus, Naino said MAST has returned rejuvenated after realising that many from his faith have been dying and stigmatized due to lack of information.
He told them that there is nothing to be ashamed by being diagnosed with HIV adding that people should not be shy to take their medication even in the public.
We all have heard of of Diabetes or hypertension where one is supposed to take the medication for life, we are not ashamed of having it so there is no need to feel ashamed of living with HIV. The same goes for those who stigmatise,” he said addressing the gathering.
His colleague Sheik Hassan advised the gathering to be wary of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through hygienic practices such as washing hands, avoiding unnecessary touching faces.
One of the attendants of the gathering was delighted to be informed of this pandemic of HIV.
“My name is Aruyah Zakaria. I am happy with this program because as Muslimsof t were stigmatized by people saying we don’t want to be tested. We are happy with this program. As Muslims, we are afraid and shy to speak out but today we have learnt that if a person is HIV, it doesn’t mean one’s life is over. But that there is life after HIV.
“We learnt of scenarios where a man is HIV but his wife isn’t having safe sex. We learnt that if they want to have a baby, couples can consult with the health experts on when and how safe it is to have a baby. we learnt as a lot of us didn’t know the way to take medication because a lot of times, we are not consistent on timing. But we learnt that if one takes medication on time and maintains the time routine, they can stay healthy. We were told that HIV is now not as fatal as Sugar Diabetes. We want to thank the organisers not to end this program with us but other Muslims,” she said.
Nelly Chisara said they were also reminded of how Allah does not bring affliction without medication.
“So we learnt a lot. We learnt that if a man and wife are positive they can practice safe sex using condoms. We were told that when the couple wants to have a baby, they should consult doctors for advice on whether the viral load is low.
“We were told of faithfulness. However, if a man isn’t satisfied with one wife, he can have two or three until he feels satisfied to live with those women. This prevents a man from going outside his home. We were told that if one is faithful, they can prevent themselves from the disease. We were told of proper marriages. So we thank the people who brought this knowledge to us.
“They took down our names so they can give us extensive and intensive knowledge on HIV/STIs. We saw their message accepted even children and adults. Young adults who haven’t married were advised to get tested first before getting into a marriage. We were also told that parents should respect their children’s decision to get married for if we prevent from doing so, chances are high they will end up in pervasion and spread the disease,” she said.