Namaste (Hello) !!
My name is Gopal Shrestha and I am 50 years old. Over twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with HIV . Since, the year 2002. I am working as a volunteer campaigner and activist in the sectors of HIV/AIDS and Drug addiction. In addition I was national football player of Nepal and played from different A Division club of Nepal.
Based on my personal experience and what I’m hearing from others, honestly, I don’t think the stigma around people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS has dissipated. True, people have a better handle on how HIV is transmitted. There’s less generalized hysteria around being in the presence of people with HIV. But I think people still judge those living with HIV and believe that they did “bad things” in order to get it.
People fear the unknown. So if they meet others living with HIV and see that they’re just regular people going through life, it’s harder for them to view positive people as part of society’s underbelly or think of HIV as a virus that can’t affect them. I believe that we can play a role as well, by sharing the stories of people living with HIV and providing accurate information about the virus through different campaigning and community based program.
Between 2011-2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths”. The World AIDS Campaign focus on “Zero AIDS related deaths” signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all.
Therefore, on the year of 2015 to meet the theme of “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths” I have decided to climb the Mt. Everest (8,848 meter high) with world aids day banner.