The workshop on HIV/AIDS started with two presentations on stigmatization.
?The first presentation, based on outcomes from a Youth Camp, delivered opinions, viewpoints and conclusions about public-stigma and self-stigma. It focused more on self-stigma and raised two important questions: What is the relation between self-stigma and HIV, and what happens when self-stigma rules? It drew out the conclusion that when a gay person suffers self-stigma, he/she might lose confidence and motivation, and then let inhibitions take control. As a result, that person might become drug or alcohol addict and commit unsafe sex practices. From the attendees, there was a noticeable response that self-stigma is not the only cause that stops people from getting information about HIV/AIDS and health care.
The second part of this workshop started with a fun activity that put attendees in relaxing mood. The audience was divided into pairs, and each person in a pair took turn to give each other a massage. Then came the presentation "The Social construction of reality: The impact of stigma on gay sexuality based on a qualitative sample in Penang, Malaysia". This was withdrawn from a doctoral research with interviews of 33 respondents. The findings recommends that gay men can and should learn how to utilize stigmatization and not fear it. Make self-stigma become a positive force to become stronger.
The third presentation was about influencing factors of Subjective quality of Life of Youth Affected by HIV/AIDS in inner Mongolia, China. It’s too bad that some computer problem had destroyed the file; therefore the presenter had to walk the audience through the presentation by reading out loud his notes. According to the presentation, there are more and more studies on HIV infection in Mongolia. They did a research on living conditions for HIV infected people in Mongolia with 108 participants. The research drew out that several social economic factors might affect different dimensions of quality of life among PLWH. They gave the results to the government for them to use it as considerations to put some changes in the policies.
The last part of the workshop focused on HIV and MSM situation in Malaysia. According to the presentation, we knew that MSM community in Malaysia lacks of empowerment due to the high level of stigma and (cultural, religious, legislative) discrimination they experience. If the MSM community is not empowered, they will not access HIV prevention/ treatment, care and support programs. Moreover, the health care of MSM is not protected by the laws; therefore the HIV services cannot often be delivered consistently.
(Filed by Lana Tran)